The Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Training Program at the Columbia University School of Social Work was originally developed in collaboration with Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, the treatment developer, during her tenure at the Behavioral Research & Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington.  This program is, to date, the first and only DBT training program within a School of Social Work.  An extension of the experimental DBT training program offered at CUSSW from 2003-2009, our ongoing affiliation with the DBT training and research community provides additional curricular support and consultation in adapting DBT for the MS social work education base.

The program is 12 months long, from May of the first year, through graduation a year later. It is comprised of a rigorous academic curriculum, including two summer classes, paired with field-based DBT internship experiences that take place under experienced, intensively trained, and certification eligible supervisors. In addition to prescribed academic requirements, students participate in online study and on-campus preparatory classes from May through August of the first summer.  Ten days of DBT Intensive Training are provided by Behavioral Tech, LLC. Five training days in August prior to the start of the academic year and five during the January holidays.  A 2.5 day workshop seminar in Suicide Risk Assessment and Management is also held during fall semester.

DBT internships are supervised by intensively-trained and certification-eligible master clinicians at agencies in outpatient, inpatient, school-based and prison settings. Students interested in becoming DBT Interns should register their interest early by attending informational sessions held in the fall of their first year at CSSW.  Application to the program includes a statement of personal interest, references and two interviews.  Evaluations are based on academic preparation, prior clinical experience with cognitive-behavioral interventions, and research interest.  Interviews are offered and students are informed of their selection into the DBT program prior to field placement selection in February.

Click here to read about program requirements.

Click here for a description of the application process.

Click here to learn more about the DBT internship sites.

20 thoughts on “Training”

  1. Hello!
    I am applying this fall to Columbia University so I can attain my Masters in Social Work. I am VERY interested in the DBT training program. I was curious if this option is available through the online study option? I will be living in upstate NY and will not be in NYC. Please let me know, I look forward to hearing from you.

    1. It is NOT currently available online. I am so sorry. We are working on creating an online DBT minor that will provide a scaled down program, but that will not be accessible until Spring semester.
      Thank you for your interest and keep me posted on your application.
      Andre Ivanoff

      1. Is the online DBT minor available yet? I am considering applying to Columbia to get my MSW, and I would especially be interested in this program.

        1. Hi Abigail,

          Thank you for your interest. Currently, all DBT courses are only offered in person. Please stay tuned for updates.

  2. To whom it may concern,

    My name is Julia Granski and I am going to be a first-year student at Columbia University School of Social Work. I am very interested in applying to the DBT Training Program this Fall. I am inquiring whether there will be an information session to learn more about the program in the upcoming weeks?

    Julia Granski

    1. Dear Julia,

      You are too wonderful! We will have info sessions starting very soon, perhaps during orientation week!

      Stay tuned.

      Andre Ivanoff

    1. Technically, yes, but the course over load and demands are extremely heavy and so we are not encouraging 16-month students to apply this year. If we can figure out how to build in more supports for 16 month students, this may change in the future.

  3. There is a separate application and interview process for the DBT Training Program. Admission to the MS program does not guarantee admission to the DBT Training program. Please see the program website for requirements. › dbt › training

  4. Dear Carla,

    The DBT minor will not be operational until the Fall of 2020, unfortunately. Thank you for your interest in the program.

    Andre Ivanoff

  5. Hi! I am going to apply for the DBT internship program 2020. Do you prefer me sending the letter of reference from my email or my referrer sending from his or her email? Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your interest in the DBT Intensive Training Program. I apologize as I thought I’d already answered your inquiry last week. It would be best if the letter of reference came directly from the referrer, but either route is acceptable.

  6. Hello!
    I will be applying to the MSW program this winter and I’m very interested in the DBT Training Program. Is it possible to get accepted into the program without prior clinical experience if an applicant can prove his/her potential and research interests in other ways? Thank you in advance for your reply!

    1. Dear Soo-Jin

      It is possible as all applications are evaluated independently, however related knowledge of DBT and related clinical experience play a larger role than research applicant evaluation. There are also several DBT electives in the curriculum that are open to all students. I would urge you to come to our information session December 11 or January 8 at 12:30 pm. The room will be posted at the reception desk on the first floor.

      Thank you for your interest in the DBT Intensive Training Program.

      Andre Ivanoff

    1. Dear Carrie,

      Thank you for your interest in the DBT Intensive Training Program. Students in the extended study program ARE eligible to participate in the DBT Intensive Training Program, however you will need to work closely with the CSSW Office of Advising and DBT Program faculty to make sure you can complete all requirements in the time you have left in School. Most of the DBT internships also require more hours than traditional MSW field placements. There are information sessions on December 11 and January 8 from 12:30-1:30. Rooms will be posted at the reception desk on the first floor.

      Andre Ivanoff

  7. Can an individual register for the 10 day training only or do they need to be enrolled in the Columbia DBT Institute in order to participate in Biotech’s training in NYC?

    1. All participants in the CU Intensive are either enrolled students or members of community DBT teams who have enrolled as a team in the Intensive Training

  8. Greetings,

    I am trying to find the cost of the DBT training program. Can you guide me in the direction of where I can find program costs? Do I need to be a Columbia Student to apply? I am starting my MSW at a NJ State College, but would like to pursue my DBT certification with Columbia.

    1. Hi Doreen,

      Thank you for your interest in the DBT Training program. The DBT Training Program is included in Columbia School of Social Work’s tuition. However, students are also expected to take two additional courses over the summer. This program is only open to Columbia School of Social Work students.

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