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Dialectical Behavior Therapy Foundational Training (Sold Out!)

Level 3
Live, Remote, Instructor-led
August 2nd – 6th, 2021

Trainers: Gwen Abney-Cunningham and Alex Chapman

Training Description

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Foundational Training (Remote Instructor-Led 5-day model)
Level: 3- Comprehensive Training in Standard DBT

Since its initial development in the 1980s DBT has been shown to be effective for an array of problems related to emotion dysregulation. We know severe emotion regulation difficulties result in persons facing multiple problems across many areas of life and that these problems manifest in a variety of ways. The principles of DBT were specifically designed for cases which often present therapists with novel challenges. One of the benefits of a principle-based treatment is that it can be versatile enough to accommodate the specific situations, cultures, and contexts of the persons it serves. DBT has been studied and implemented in multiple countries across the globe.

DBT Foundational training is a comprehensive program of study designed specifically for individual therapists or skills trainers who are members of an intensively trained DBT Consultation Team and have not completed Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Training themselves. It is meant to assist teams who have hired new staff or experienced turnover by allowing newer team members to get trained in the standard content of DBT. It includes 4 hours of content specific to risk assessment, management, and treatment of suicidal behaviors. Lecture, video, demonstration, and practice will be used to teach DBT theory and strategies in depth.

This live remote instructor-led training consists of 5 days of training delivered via video conference embedded in a learning management system (LMS) for a total of 30 instructor-led hours.

Please note that this is a rigorous program (similar to an advanced university course of study) intended to deliver the
necessary basic skills to provide a complex treatment to persons with complex problems. A significant amount of dedicated
time beyond the scheduled instructional hours is required for successful completion. We estimate that participants should
plan for 2 hours of additional time for each hour of scheduled instructional time over the course of the training
(approximately 6 to 7 months) to complete the readings, homework tasks, and post-training assessments required for
successful completion. The provision of CE/CME requires a pass rate of 70% or higher. Homework assignments and pertinent
readings are designed to correspond with each of the training segments. Reading assignments are designed to ensure
complete reading of the primary DBT texts. Citations for the readings can be found at the end of this document.

The training requires that participants work in an active DBT program, participate in a consultation team, and will continue learning DBT with a mentor. Only people who have attended an approved team-based comprehensive training in DBT are able to serve as mentors for team members attending Foundational Training.

Primary objective: As a result of this training participants will be able to provide DBT.

  • Learning Objectives:
    1. Incorporate DBT assumptions about clients into treatment.
    2. Balance change and acceptance in providing consultation.
    3. Apply DBT principles and strategies during DBT consultation team meetings.
    4. Increase the motivation and capability of therapists on your consultation team.
    5. Describe how scientific method is used in both treatment development and conducting DBT.
    6. Use DBT research data to engage stakeholders in DBT.
    7. Adopt and practice a dialectical worldview in treatment and case formulation.
    8. Engage clients in treatment by providing dialectical balance between change and acceptance.
    9. Accurately describe the content of the skills training module: Core Mindfulness.
    10. Convey the rationale for DBT Mindfulness skills.
    11. Explain how Core Mindfulness skills are key (core) to all skills taught in DBT.
    12. Explain the Biosocial Model of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other severe disorders in all required treatment contexts.
    13. Conceptualize the manner in which suicidal behavior is an attempt by patients to solve problems.
    14. Incorporate hypotheses to include in DBT case formulation based on dialectical dilemmas experienced by persons with borderline personality disorder (duplicate).
    15. Accurately describe the content of the skills training module: Emotion Regulation.
    16. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Emotions Regulation skills.
    17. Convey the rationale for DBT Emotion Regulation skills.
    18. Describe the functions of comprehensive treatment and the corresponding modes employed in DBT to accomplish these functions.
    19. Describe how levels of disorder and stages of treatment guide treatment planning and targeting.
    20. Identify client’s life goals that can be used as motivation for engaging in DBT.
    21. Structure treatment according to the target hierarchies for each modality (e.g., individual, skills training, phone).
    22. Set target hierarchies for clients with multiple problems.
    23. Complete DBT pre-treatment tasks (e.g., identify client’s goals, orient to DBT, obtain commitments).
    24. Describe the key elements that should be addressed in individual DBT sessions.
    25. Structure individual DBT sessions.26. Describe the function of DBT skills training.
    27. Define the roles of the leader and co-leader in DBT skills training.
    28. Explain how to structure a DBT skills training class.
    29. Identify the contents of the DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness skills module.
    30. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness skills.
    31. Convey the rationale for DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness skills.
    32. Identify the contents of the DBT Distress Tolerance skills module.
    33. Describe the evidence for the use of DBT Distress Tolerance skills.
    34. Convey the rationale for DBT Distress Tolerance skills.
    35. Define problem behaviors specifically and behaviorally.
    36. Conduct a chain analysis of an episode of a target behavior.
    37. Conduct missing links analyses of needed behaviors that did not occur.
    38. Describe the DBT problem-solving strategies (skills training, cognitive modification, exposure, contingency management).
    39. Generate and evaluate solutions for specific problematic links from a chain analysis.
    40. Describe the use of validation in DBT.
    41. Implement the levels of validation in DBT.
    42. Engage clients in treatment by providing dialectical balance between change and acceptance.
    43. Employ the dialectical strategies in DBT.
    44. Implement DBT stylistic strategies (reciprocal and irreverent communication).
    45. Assess long-term and acute risk for suicide.
    46. Talk with individuals in a manner that facilitates assessment of suicide risk.
    47. Describe the steps of the suicide crisis protocol.
    48. Apply DBT suicide crisis protocols.
    49. Respond to ongoing suicidal behavior during treatment.
    50. Coach clients to generalize skills in all relevant contexts.
    51. More effectively coach clients with skills specific to their needs.
    52. Competently help patients employ difficult-to-use skills.
    53. Implement the DBT case management strategies.
    54. Identify the application of, and limits to, consultation to the client.
    55. Explain the importance of observing personal and professional limits in DBT.
    56. Describe the steps for observing limits in DBT.


General Schedule – All Times are listed in Pacific Daylight Time
Session 1 2 3 4 5
Date 8/2/2021 8/3/2021 8/4/2021 8/5/2021 8/6/2021
Time 9:00am – 4:30pm PDT 9:00am – 4:30pm PDT 9:00am – 4:30pm PDT 9:00am – 4:30pm PDT 9:00am – 4:30pm PDT
Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Length 7.5 hours 7.5 hours 7.5 hours 7.5 hours 7.5 hours
CE Hours 6 6 6 6 6


Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW

Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW Kalamazoo, MI (United States) Gwen Abney-Cunningham, LMSW, is currently a fulltime Behavioral Tech consultant and trainer. Prior to coming to Behavioral Tech full time, she was employed at a community mental health agency for 32 years, in many roles, including; DBT Services Supervisor, Outpatient Services Director, and most recently as Evidenced Based Treatment Director. Gwen received her bachelor’s degree from Hope College and her MSW from Grand Valley State University. She has 30 plus years of professional experience and is a member of one of the first teams in the U.S. to apply DBT within an ACT program.  Gwen is intensively trained in DBT and an experienced workshop leader at state, national, and international conferences. Gwen continues to work as a DBT therapist because it is effective and the hope it brings to clients and their families. As a BTECH Trainer and consultant, she is also able to assist many mental health providers in learning the treatment to assist in helping many individuals. Gwen’s experience in DBT includes individual and skills training for adults, adolescents and families and providing DBT supervision to clinicians. In addition, she has assisted in the development and implementation of DBT on ACT teams and in outpatient settings. Gwen has been involved with the large-scale implementations of DBT in Michigan for Community Mental Health settings. She has been a Behavioral Tech trainer for 20 plus years. Gwen has also served on the Behavioral Tech Trainer Advisory Committee and the Behavioral Tech Implementation Science Workgroup.

Alexander Chapman, PhD, R.Psych

Alexander Chapman, PhD, R.Psych   Alexander Chapman, PhD, R.PsychAlexander L. Chapman, PhD, RPsych., is a professor, director of clinical training, and clinical science area coordinator in the psychology department at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Chapman completed his B.A. at U.B.C., his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Idaho State University (APA accredited), and his predoctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center. After completing a post-doc at the University of Washington with Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, he joined the faculty at SFU in 2005, where he established the Personality and Emotion Research Laboratory (PERL). Dr. Chapman’s research at the PERL focuses on complex psychopathology characterized by emotion regulation problems, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), self-injury, and related areas. Dr. Chapman has received over $4 million in external and internal funding for translational and treatment outcome research. He was Co-PI for the largest randomized trial of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) to date, comparing 6- to 12-months of DBT for chronically self-harming/suicidal patients with BPD. He has authored/co-authored over 100 refereed journal articles/book chapters and 12 books. Dr. Chapman has received the Young Investigator’s Award of the National Alliance for BPD (2007), the Canadian Psychological Association’s Early Career Scientist Practitioner Award (2011), and an 8-year Career Investigator Award (2012-2019) from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. At SFU, Dr. Chapman received a Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence in 2017 and a Retention Award in 2019. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and the Canadian Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (CACBT). Dr. Chapman is actively involved in university, academic, and community service. In his department, he has held service appointments continuously (excepting study leaves) since 2008, serving as associate chair (graduate), clinical science area coordinator, and director of clinical training. Actively involved in journal and grant peer-review process, Dr. Chapman is a member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) College of Reviewers, associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, and a standing committee member for a CIHR grant committee. He serves as Certification Chair and as a member of the board of directors for the CACBT. In addition, Dr. Chapman regularly gives talks, workshops, and trainings and consults with community mental health clinicians, and is on the test-writing committee for the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification. Dr. Chapman is a registered psychologist with expertise in the assessment and treatment of complex mental health concerns, such as BPD, suicide risk, and self-injury. He co- founded the DBT Centre of Vancouver, a treatment centre emphasizing the care of people with complex mental health problems, from an evidence-based CBT and DBT perspective. Dr. Chapman greatly enjoys teaching and training clinicians and students in effective treatments for complex clinical problems. He has many years of experience training and consulting for multi-year projects to implement DBT across large correctional and community mental health systems. He also is board-certified in both cognitive behavioural therapy (CACBT) and DBT (Linehan Board). Outside of work, Dr. Chapman has extensive experience with mindfulness and martial arts. He enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and time with his wife, two sons, and his dog, Charlie.


Participants should meet the following criteria:

  • Be a current member of an Intensively trained team, with a mentor who has attended an approved comprehensive DBT Training.
  • Be invested in learning DBT to a high standard in order to better implement the treatment in their settings.
  • Participants agree to attend and fully participate in the entire training in a willing, committed manner.
  • Acknowledge all training requirements.
  • Agree to complete all readings before training.
  • Agree to complete all homework assigned during the course of the training.

Study Resources

Primary texts:

  • Linehan, M.M. (1993). Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Linehan, M.M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual: Second Edition. Guilford Press.
  • Linehan, M.M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets: Second Edition. Guilford Press.

Secondary sources:

  • Abramowitz, J.S., Deacon, B.J., & Whiteside, S.P.H. (2019) Exposure Therapy for Anxiety: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Farmer, R.F. & Chapman, A.L. (2016). Behavioral Interventions in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Practical Guidance for Putting Theory into Action(2nd ed.). American Psychological Association.
  • Foa, E.B., Chrestman, K.R., & Gilboa-Schechtman, E. (2008). Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Adolescents with PTSD Emotional Processing of Traumatic Experiences(Therapist Guide). New York: Oxford University Press
  • Heard, H.L. & Swales, M.A. (2016). Changing Behavior in DBT: Problem Solving in Action. Guilford Press.
  • Koerner, K. & Linehan, M.M. (1997). “Case formulation in dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder.” In T. Eells (Ed.) Handbook of Psychotherapy Case Formulation (pp. 340-367). Guilford Press
  • Linehan, M.M. (1997). “Validation & Psychotherapy.” In A. Bohart & L. Greenberg (Eds.). Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy(pp. 353–392). American Psychological Association.
  • Pryor, K. (2002). Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training (Revised edition). Ringpress Books Ltd.
    Ramnerö, J. & Törneke, N. (2008). The ABCs of Human Behavior: Behavioral Principles for the Practicing Clinician. New Harbinger Publications.

Supplemental Readings
The following resources contain important information specific to populations practice settings. Reviewing them is highly recommended, particularly if you are making adaptations to standard DBT.

  • Dimeff, L. A., & Koerner, K. (Eds.). (2007). Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Clinical Practice: Applications across disorders and settings. Guilford Press.
  • Swales, M.A. (Ed.). (2019). The Oxford Handbook of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Oxford University Press.



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>Complete Foundational Application<

Tuition rates will be determined by the date on which the payment is received.  Payments received after the due date may be subject to increase.  If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at

Tuition Schedule:

Early Bird Registration Discount: $1,395
– Applications and tuition due by June  4th, 2021

Standard Registration: $1,495
-Applications and tuition received by July 8th, 2021

Last Minute Registration: $1,595
-Applications and tuition received by July 19th, 2021

Acceptance Notification
We will review applications in the order they are received. Applicants will be notified of acceptance on a rolling basis. 

Tuition Payment Terms
Your tuition payment is due upon receipt of the invoice; if payment is not received, we may release your space to another applicant. Please contact us at 206.675.8588 to discuss any extenuating circumstances affecting your prompt payment. Application fees and tuition are non-refundable.

Prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. We accept credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express), U.S. checks, and bank transfers. All payments must be in U.S. funds; we are unable to accept foreign checks. Please contact Customer Service at 206.675.8588 or at for more information about ACH or wire transfer payment options.

Due to the comprehensive nature of this training, there are no cancellations or substitutions available. If extenuating circumstances arise that prevent full attendance, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation. We will do our best to provide alternative options for completing training curriculum.

For a complete list of Behavioral Tech policies and limits of liability, see policies.

Seat Availability for Live-remote Events
The number of seats for our open-enrollment workshops and our application-based trainings is limited by the efficacy of online training for this event. Please complete your registration or submit your application at your earliest convenience, as we will not guarantee a seat for you until we have received your registration or tuition payment.

Special Accommodations
If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Behavioral Tech at 206.675.8588 four weeks prior to the training so that we may provide you with appropriate service.

Technical Requirements

Our Online Portal (powered by Thinkific) will be used to host the live Zoom sessions and share supplemental materials. To test your internet connection, camera, and microphone, you can use Zoom’s testing application.

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) 675-8589 or via email to 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. Only participants with 100% attendance, and who have completed the Post-Event Evaluation and passed their Final Exam with a score of 70% or higher will receive credit. Behavioral Tech cannot offer partial credit. Please remember to sign in and sign out each day to document your attendance. Continuing
Education documentation will be emailed to you 4 – 6 weeks after the homework due date.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
Behavioral Tech is approved by NAADAC – the Association for Addiction Professionals, Provider #77431. You will receive a letter via email documenting your attendance upon successful completion of the activity. The allotted contact hours for this activity = 30.

Mental Health Counselors
Behavioral Tech is approved by an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.
Behavioral Tech will email you a letter documenting your attendance upon the successful completion of the activity. The allocated clock hours for this activity = 30.

Behavioral Tech is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Nurses should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Continuing Medical Education is accepted by the ANCC for nursing certification renewal. The maximum AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ designated by Behavioral Tech for this activity = 30.

Behavioral Tech is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The maximum AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ designated by Behavioral Tech for this activity = 30.

Behavioral Tech is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. Behavioral Tech maintains responsibility for the program and its content. Behavioral Tech will email you a letter documenting your attendance after the successful completion of the program and homework. The number of hours Behavioral Tech has allocated within APA guidelines = 30.

Psychologists – New York
Behavioral Tech is recognized  by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists, #PSY-0063. Behavioral Tech will email a certificate of attendance upon 100% completion of this activity. The total contact hour allocated for this activity = 30.

Social Workers- WA
Behavioral Tech will apply to the NASW, Washington State Chapter, Provider Number 1975-166, to offer continuing education for Certified Social Workers. Behavioral Tech will email a certificate of attendance upon 100% completion of this activity. The hours of CE allocated for this activity = 30.

Social Workers – NY

Behavioral Tech is approved by recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers, #0040. Behavioral Tech will email a letter documenting attendance to participants with 100% completion of the program and homework. The hours allocated for this activity = 30.

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