DBT Essentials

25 modules


Dr William Davies

03 Jan 2020



Accredited online Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) training from the The Association for Psychological Therapies (APT), includes APT accreditation, certification, and resources.

DBT brings together a series of skills and techniques which are powerful and well-chosen ones, for working with personality disorder and other areas. Many people want to familiarise themselves with these skills without necessarily becoming a DBT therapist exclusively, and this 3 course is for you if you are one of those people as well as if you are thinking of taking the first step in becoming a DBT therapist or establishing a DBT service. As well as covering the ‘overall concept of DBT’, it covers its ‘essential elements’ such as how to set up skills development groups, the inter-relation between the groups and the 1:1 sessions, how to maximise generalistion of the skills learned into real life, how therapists gain support for themselves, how fidelity to the model is maintained, and more.

For further information on the format of APT online training, guaranteed completions for group bookings, and how to make a group booking, click here.


The DBT Essentials course covers a great deal:


  • Definition of validation, and why it is important.
  • Validation and its dialectical balance with problem solving and change strategies.
  • Linehan's Biopsychosocial model of Borderline Personality Disorder, and how validation fits in with it.
  • The implication of invalidating environments for a child, and for the adult.
  • What constitutes an invalidating environment, including 'ideal' environments ... and a validating one, including how to create it.
  • Exercises on creating validating responses to specific statements.
  • Different ways of validating.
  • Using validation in your own situation.


  • How metaphors work and why we should use them.
  • 6 Examples of metaphors.
  • 4 Metaphors you can use repeatedly, for common problem situations.
  • General principles of metaphors, including visual metaphors.
  • Metaphors exercise.
  • A case example, to illustrate the use of validation and metaphor.

Relentless problem solving.

  • The five stage problem solving strategy.
  • Forms for clients (and you) to use with problem solving.
  • Problem solving exercise.
  • Personal experience of problem solving: exercise.

Contingency management.

  • Video demonstration of differential reinforcement in a clinical setting.
  • The nature of contingency management and how it interacts with the conscious or unconscious motivations of the client.
  • Behavioural analysis, especially as a response to severe behaviour such as parasuicidal behaviour.
  • Chain analysis and solution analysis.
  • Case example.

Emotion-regulation exercise, especially including the focus on biological elements such as: sleep, exercise, illnesses, circadian rhythm.

Interpersonal effectiveness exercise. To be effective interpersonally proves to be a key skill, and the research evidence is impressive on this. It is therefore one of the four skills taught in DBT, addressing frequent interpersonal issues.


  • A definition and description of mindfulness and the best purposes it can fulfil.
  • Kabat-Zinn's descriptions of mindfulness.
  • Mindfulness and its role in balancing 'the emotional mind' with 'the reasonable mind' to achieve 'the wise mind'.
  • The three 'What' skills of mindfulness.
  • The three 'How' skills of mindfulness.
  • Mental Health problems to which mindfulness can be applied.
  • An on-going introspective exercise in mindfulness.

Distress tolerance.

  • 'Distraction behaviours' that may be used to contradict and neutralise distress.
  • 'Radical' distress tolerance: doing nothing. How to do nothing: the fact of this turning out to be an effective approach for many people, and the theory behind it.

Walking the Middle Path

  • What this means, why it is important, and an overview of some of the exercises involved.

Other important therapist-skills in DBT.

  • Telephone support and other ways of helping patients apply the skills they learn ‘in the classroom’ to their real lives.
  • Chaining: how to analyse the chain of events that led up to ‘an incident’, highlight the points at which the patient could behave differently the next time something similar occurs, and optimise the chances of them doing so.
  • How to order competing priorities: deciding which of several severe problems to tackle first.
  • Life-threatening behaviours, therapy-threatening behaviours, and behaviours that interfere with the quality of life.
  • The patient-therapist agreement - our role in it.
  • Assumptions we can make about the patient - and those we can't.

What the DBT Essentials course will do for you:

  • You will have the feeling of knowing what DBT is all about, and understanding it.

  • You will be able to create validating environments - environments that make people feel good.
  • You will be able to validate other people - to have them feel as though you are on the same wavelength as they are.
  • You will be able to quickly have people 'see things differently'.
  • You will be able to (help people to) solve problems.
  • You will be able to respond to people who have just done very severe behaviours in a way which is caring yet does not reinforce the severe behaviour.
  • You will be able to (help people to) bring some sense of order and predictability to emotions.
  • You will have the chance to begin practising mindfulness.
  • You will be able to (help others to) tolerate distress much better. Not to allow distress to get into a 'vicious spiral'.
  • You will be able to order competing priorities amongst several 'top priorities'.
  • If you want to set up a fully fledged DBT service, you will have taken the first step and be able to see the path ahead.


By completing/passing this course, you will attain the certificate Level 2 Accreditation (18 hours CPD)

Learning Credits

Welcome and Intro
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What is DBT
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Assessment and Formulation
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The DBT Assessment Phase
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Case Formulation
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Contingency Management
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Skills Development Groups
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Interpersonal Effectiveness
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A break from Skills Development Groups
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Emotion Regulation
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Distress Tolerance
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Walking the Middle Path
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How to Do it
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Individual Sessions
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Relentless Problem Solving
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Chaining 2
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Putting it into Practice
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The Peer Supervision Meeting
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Applying what we have covered, reliably
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What have you earned by completing this course
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Added 2 days ago, by Anonymous
Great course - very informative
Added 4 days ago, by Joe
Fantastic experience - although at times I felt like the individual narrating could have added some of his own experience, metaphors and tips.
Added 4 days ago, by Victoria
Enjoyable, thorough logical content and relatable activities for practice
Added 5 days ago, by Anonymous
wonderful and insightful course that delivers practically the layout and delivery of DBT. Gives insight understanding and paves the way to consider setting up a DBT service.
Added 11 days ago, by Anonymous
I feel full with knowledge and it has helped me to understand some of the presentating symptoms of my patients. I do hope with these skills, I can be able to help my patients more. I also feel that on a personal level, these skills are good assest to have.
Added 13 days ago, by Charlotte
Really good overview of DBT, feeling much more confident using this approach in my clinical work. A nice balance of slides and exercises.
Added 16 days ago, by Anonymous
I have found the course really helpful being able to complete on line and relevant to my workplace.
Added 18 days ago, by Grace
Good course. Very clear.
Added 23 days ago, by Anonymous
Helpful course.
Added 23 days ago, by
very interesting

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