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 in 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.

For more information on the DBT Training Program & Lab as well as application process, please review the following webinars:

DBT Training Program Webinar Part 1: Treatment Overview (CC)

DBT Program Webinar Part 2: Program Overview and Application Process (CC)


Join us for a Q & A info session about the training program and application process!

  • Thursday November 12th from 12pm – 1pm via zoom

Meeting Link:

Meeting ID: 956 2641 9527
Passcode: 993076

12 thoughts on “Training”

  1. Hi! Is the DBT program open to students on the extended track as well? Or is it only available for students on the standard two-year track?

    1. Hello. Students in the Extended Study Program are welcome to apply. They have to meet all of the same DBT training program requirements as full-time students. The program begins with required classes during the summer before the internship begins in September. The DBT internship is the student’s second placement and requires 3 days/week for a minimum of 21 hours/week.

  2. Hi there:

    I have been admitted to CSSW and I was wondering how I go about applying to the DBT program to solidify my spot. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Emily,
      Congratulations on your admission and thanks for your interest in the program! During the fall semester someone from the program will be hosting information/Q&A sessions. Attending one of those is the first step in the application process. After application submission there is at least one interview. Decisions for the next year’s cohort are generally made in late January/February.

  3. Hi Chelsea,
    Thanks for your interest in the program. Unfortunately, the DBT Intensive Training Program is only open to second year advanced clinical practice students at CSSW.

  4. Hi Caroline,
    During the fall semester someone from the DBT program will be holding information/Q&A sessions about the program. That would be a good time to make an initial connection.

  5. Thanks for your interest in the DBT Intensive Training Program at CSSW. Kristen,
    Currently, we are not able to accommodate students in the online program.

    1. During the year of the training program (May of the 1st year through graduation) students are required to be on campus for 2 classes during the 10-week summer session, a full week of intensive training in August and full-time during the academic year.

      Completing these requirements along with the demands of the Advanced Standing Program is not impossible, but it is an onerous load.

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