Initiating a DBT consultation team: Conceptual and practical considerations for training clinics

Laura K. Noll, Jennifer Lewis, Maureen Zalewski, Christina Gamache Martin, Leslie Roos, Nicole Musser, Kristen Reinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


As the evidence base for dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) grows, so too does the need for well-trained DBT clinicians, especially in practice settings that serve populations at high-risk for self-injurious behavior or suicide. Despite the increased availability of resources for learning and applying DBT to such high-risk individuals, comparatively little has been written about initiating DBT training for new therapists in settings where DBT services are being established for the first time. The purpose of this paper is to bridge the gap between existing DBT resources and their high-fidelity application in training clinics by focusing on the consultation team as a key component to training therapists in the model. First, a conceptual overview of DBT and the role of a consultation team to support trainee therapists are presented. Second, elements of the consultation team are reviewed and unique considerations for trainee therapists are highlighted. Finally, the challenges, key strategies for overcoming obstacles, and benefits of initiating DBT training with a consultation team for trainee therapists are discussed via a series of reflections from a new DBT team, which we present as a case example of shared learning on a training team within a university clinic. We address four conceptual and practical domains of the training: the distinction between supervision and consultation, therapist identity development and competency, DBT in clinical training contexts, and embodying a dialectical stance within the university clinic. The implications of these observations for DBT theory and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalTraining and Education in Professional Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Consultation team
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Supervision
  • Therapist training
  • University clinic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Psychology


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