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Adapting your DBT Program for Substance Use Disorders – DBT-SUD

Level 4
New Canaan, CT – co-sponsored by: Silver Hill Hospital
September 16-17, 2019

Training Description

This two-day workshop covers the modifications made when applying Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and substance use disorders. Participants specifically learn how DBT for substance use disorders (DBT-SUD), when applied to populations with comorbid disorders, differs from standard DBT for BPD clients in the way that DBT is targeted, how behavioral skills are taught in skills training group, how to engage clients in therapy at the beginning of treatment, strategies for not losing clients during treatment, and how therapists are supported when clients are in danger of dropping out of therapy. This workshop is intended for those who have knowledge of standard DBT.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the adaptations of DBT specific to substance use disorders.
  2. Describe the evidence for DBT-SUD
  3. Describe how DBT-SUD is similar to and different from other major substance use treatments.
  4. List the principles to consider in determining for whom DBT-SUD is appropriate.
  5. Explain the concept of dialectical abstinence.
  6. Apply specific attachment strategies to gain commitment and keep substance abusing clients in treatment
  7. Identify specific treatment targets for substance abusers with borderline personality disorder
  8. Train DBT skills specific to substance abusers with borderline personality disorder.
  9. Describe the principles for involving families in DBT-SUD.

Eligibility & Requirements:

This is a Level 4 training. Our Level 4 trainings allow experienced DBT therapists to advance and sustain their DBT knowledge. We define “experienced” as those who have completed our Level 3 training (or equivalent comprehensive training) and provide DBT in their clinical work.


Day 1

8:30 – 9:00 Registration, Sign-in
9:00 – 10:45 Overarching approach and evidence for DBT-SUD
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:30 Structuring the treatment environment
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch (Provided by Silver Hill Hospital)
1:30 – 3:00 Individual DBT-SUD sessions
3:00 – 3:15 Break
3:15 – 4:15 Dialectical abstinence
4:15 – 4:45 Review, Q&A, Completion of Evaluation, & Sign-out

Day 2

8:30 – 9:00 Sign-in
9:00 – 10:45 The Path to Clear Mind & special DBT-SUD issues
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:30 Chain analysis & task analysis in DBT-SUD
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch (Provided by Silver Hill Hospital)
1:30 – 3:00 Finding clients when they are lost: DBT Attachment Strategies and working with families in DBT-SUD
3:00 – 3:15 Break
3:15 – 4:15 Building capability: DBT-SUD Skills & the use of replacement medications
4:15 – 4:45 Review, Q&A, Completion of Evaluation, & Sign-out



Kathryn Korslund, PhD, ABPP

Kathryn E. Korslund, Ph.D., ABPP, is the Clinical Director of THIRA Health, a DBT based partial hospital and intensive outpatient program in Bellevue, WA and a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. Dr. Korslund served as the Associate Director of Dr. Marsha Linehan’s Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics from 2003-2017 and was a co-investigator with Dr. Linehan studying the application of DBT to problems of adult and adolescent suicidal behavior and substance dependence and with Dr. Melanie Harned in her work developing and evaluating a protocol to treat PTSD during DBT. Dr. Korslund is the co-developer of the University of Washington DBT Adherence Coding Scale and oversees DBT fidelity monitoring and coder training internationally. Dr. Korslund has conducted DBT training and consultation for professionals and mental health systems throughout the United States and Canada as well as in the UK, Europe, Australia and Asia. She is a licensed psychologist in the state of WA and holds certifications by the American Board of Professional Psychology, the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, and the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety.

Study Resources

Read or download our whitepaper:  


DBT Helps Individuals with Substance Use Disorders



75 available
Registration, Adapting your DBT Program for Substance Use Disorders$395.00

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Venue Information

Co-sponsored by: Silver Hill Hospital
Training Location:

Silver Hill Hospital
208 Valley Road, New Canaan, CT 06840


Continuing Education

This offering meets the requirements for the following hours by discipline. Licensing and continuing education requirements vary by state. Please contact your state’s regulatory authority to verify if this course meets your licensing or continuing education requirements. Inquiries regarding CE for other disciplines not listed may be directed to Behavioral Tech at (206) 675-8588 or via email to CE@behavioraltech.org. And for general CE questions, you can review answers to continuing education FAQs or contact us.

CE NOTE: Behavioral Tech calculates the continuing education credits for this training by the start time and end time. 100 percent attendance is required, as is signing IN and OUT each morning and afternoon, to receive CE credits. Partial credits cannot be issued.