Two multiple-choice exams are required for certification. The first is an exam on knowledge of behavior therapy principles and practices. This must be passed before taking the second exam, on DBT principles and practices.
The first exam assesses the knowledge of behavior therapy principles and practices. Data has shown that individuals with strong behavioral backgrounds are more likely to implement DBT effectively than those with less knowledge of behavioral principles.
The second exam covers the essential domains of knowledge a DBT clinician must know to be certified. The content reflects the core competencies described in the DBT Certification Categories for DBT Skills Trainer and DBT Individual Therapist. These domains are: Bio-social Theory and Framework of DBT; Validation; Dialectics; DBT Mindfulness; DBT Team; Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention; and DBT Skills Training.
The performance component of the exam consists of two parts. The first occurs during the supervision of cases and groups as described in the prerequisites. Tapes of sessions are evaluated for adherence as described in the prerequisites. When these prerequisites are met, the examinee is eligible for an oral exam.
The oral exam will be administered by two DBT experts, certified at the appropriate level for the examination and approved by the Board of Certification and Accreditation as meeting the necessary qualifications to test for DBT certification.
- Individual DBT Therapist:
The examinee is expected to present an individual case. S/he will be prepared to discuss intake and orientation procedures, DBT case formulation, the history of progress in therapy thus far and a delineation of current goals and targets.
The presentation will last approximately thirty minutes and should include taped segments of therapy as demonstration of DBT strategies by the therapist.
After the presentation, the examiners will further test the applicant on knowledge of DBT as it relates to the case described and to other areas of DBT (see domains, above), as well as the core competencies described for the Individual DBT Therapist in the Categories for Certification. The applicant should be prepared to engage in role plays as further assessment of his or her competency.
- DBT Skills Trainer:
The examinee will be expected to describe the structure of a group s/he leads, including: intake procedures, group format, group guidelines, demographics of members and coordination with clinicians delivering other DBT modalities for clients in the group.
The presentation will last approximately thirty minutes and should include taped segments of skills group as demonstration of DBT strategies by the therapist. Segments should include sessions in which the examinee is in both the roles of “Lead” and “Co-lead”.
After the presentation, the examiners will further test the applicant on knowledge of DBT as it relates to skills training and the modality of skills group, as well as other areas of DBT (see domains, above), as well as the core competencies described for DBT Skill Trainer in the Categories for Certification. The applicant should be prepared to engage in role-plays as further assessment of his or her competency.