St. Louis DBT is leading the way in DBT education and certification support in the St. Louis area

Thinking about becoming certified in one of the most researched and highly effective treatment modalities to date?  Does the process seem daunting or overwhelming?  Our program can help you get through it all easily and efficiently.

Course Description

DBT Academy is a 1 Year DBT full-immersion, experiential course meant to prepare its students to be true DBT Therapists and attain national certification in DBT. This is an Intermediate Level course, meaning it was created for people with a year or more of experience in the mental health field.

The program has been broken into 3 “trimesters”. The first trimester goes over DBT basics — together we comb through the manual and learn the foundations of the modality. In the second trimester, students learn and practice specific skills used in group and individual DBT sessions. In the third trimester, participants will tape sessions, score for adherence, prep for the national exam, and create a case formulation that can be turned in to meet requirements for national certification.

Take a look at the requirements for National DBT Certification and what DBT Academy offers you.

DBT Certification Requirements (according to DBT-Linehan Board of Certification)

1. Education: You will need a graduate degree in a mental health-related field from an educational program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education

2. Licensure: You must have a license.  Conditional or provisional licenses are not accepted.

3. DBT-Related Educational/Training experiences —  minimum of 40 didactic training hours specific to DBT

4. Clinical Experience in DBT — three clients for whom you have done the following:  Oriented to the treatment (structure, theory, goals/targets and commitments), provided regularly scheduled individual DBT therapy, made available phone coaching, had diary card and treatment targets that met the DBT Stage I hierarchy

5. DBT Team experiences — There are two requirements here: (1) a total of 12 months of participation in one or more DBT consultation teams; and (2) current participation on a DBT Team

6. DBT Skills knowledge/experience: You will be required to attest to having done the following three things: (1) read the Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan, (2) done all the homework assignments in the manual and (3) taught or participated as a student in all modules of skills training OR taught all DBT skills within individual therapy and coached clients in the application of the skills.

7.  Exam — Based on the treatment manual – Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan

8. Letter of Recommendation — A letter of recommendation as to your character and competency as a DBT practitioner will be required from your Team Leader.

9. Work Product Demonstration — You will be asked to submit a Case Conceptualization for a client for whom you will also be providing videotapes of 3 consecutive live therapy sessions.  The Case Conceptualization will be reviewed.  If passed successfully, you will then be asked to submit the video tapes, which will then be coded to evidence-based adherence standards for DBT.

10. Mindfulness Experience — Formal training and current ongoing practice in mindfulness is required and can be demonstrated by at least one of the following four experiences (provide dates and descriptions for each):  A mindfulness retreat, formal practice community participation, formally a student of a recognized Zen/contemplative teacher, and/or at least one formal training in mindfulness.

DBT Academy Requirements and Offerings as they relate to the certification requirements

1. Education: This is also a requirement for enrollment in DBT Academy

2. Licensure : Candidates with licenses will be given preference in the selection process.  ALL applicants MUST have a minimum of 1 year post-graduate work, including direct clinical service experience and be within one year of licensure.

3. DBT-Related Educational/Training experiences: DBT Academy students will receive a total of 49 hours of face-to-face training over the year of the program.   

4. Clinical Experience: DBT Academy clinicians will be given the opportunity to subcontract with STLDBT and see 1-3 DBT clients to work with for 6-12 months.  Students will be trained in and expected to complete all required Stage I treatment requirements.  Supervision and consultation will be provided as needed.

5. DBT Team Consultation: DBT Academy students will participate in a weekly DBT team consult meeting which meets all requirements set forth by DBT –Linehan Board of Certification. 

6. DBT Skills knowledge/experience: DBT Academy will offer weekly education after team consult that will include expert-lead lectures, peer-lead study groups, and discussions of the readings from books and articles by Linehan and other authors.  Students may also have the opportunity to co-lead DBT groups if available.

7.  Exam Prep: DBT Academy Lead Instructor, Casey Limmer, was among the very first exam takers and passed the first time.  She will advise students of DBT Academy who wish to pursue certification.  Practice tests are provided as well.  Students are also encouraged to form an exam study group.

8. Letter of Recommendation: This letter can be provided by Nationally Certified DBT Therapist, Casey Limmer, provided students meet requirements for competency by the end of the program

9. Work Product Demonstration:  Students will all tape at least one session to be presented to the group for adherence rating.  Additional supervision may be requested at additional fee for those students seeking certification and would like more guidance and input on completing this task.  Casey will review your tapes prior to you submitting them for certification and provide a preliminary coded report

10. Mindfulness Experience:  Students are encouraged to find their own formal training or practice based on level of experience and interests. STLDBT offers an MBCT course (for Academy Participants, the cost is $30 per session for 10 sessions) that would fulfill this requirement.


DBT Academy is instructed by Casey Limmer, MSW, LCSW, DBT-LBC, a nationally certified DBT Clinician and adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis. For more about Casey, click here.

Method, Format and Learning Objectives

  • This is a 1 Year DBT full-immersion, experiential course, broken into 3 trimesters. 49 possible CEUs are prorated and awarded at the end of each trimester based on attendance. (Click here for the 2018 syllabus containing specific topics):

    • First Trimester: The Basics. 17 CEUs available. Objectives:

      • Students will be able to explain dialectics and give meaningful examples

      • Students will be able to use commitment strategies to gain client buy-in and improve motivation

      • Students will learn about the use of reciprocal and irreverent communication in sessions

      • Students will have a clear understanding of the behavioral underpinnings of DBT

    • Second Trimester: The Skills. 19 CEUS available. Objectives:

      • Students will learn and practice ALL of the DBT skills

      • Students will be able to teach the skills to clients

      • Students will learn how to structure skills group sessions and deliver didactic lessons

    • Third Trimester: Certification Prep. 13 CEUS available. Objectives:

      • Students will review the adherence criteria and be able to identify those skills in taped sessions

      • Students will tape a session of their own and present it in class for feedback based on adherence criteria

      • Students will write and exchange feedback on case conceptualizations they may use to meet certification criteria

      • Students will take practice tests to prepare for the national exam

  • Small personalized instruction — 5-8 “students” per year

  • Weekly training will be conducted primarily by lead lecturer and Nationally Certified DBT therapist, Casey Limmer, assisted by junior staff throughout.

  • Participants will be required to present lessons on DBT skills throughout the course as practice – the best way to learn is to teach!

  • Weekly DBT Consultation Team time (90 minutes) is required and does not count toward CEs

  • By the end, you will be prepared to meet all 10 requirements for DBT certification

Tuition and Work-Study Opportunities

  • Tuition for DBT Academy is $3300 for the year of the program, billed monthly at $275/month, BUT, before you succumb to the sticker shock, we’ve found a way for you to apply what you are learning with real cases while at the same time paying down your tuition. By co-leading a DBT group and/or taking a few private pay clients at a discounted hourly rate (thus saving clients money as well), you can apply your fee to your tuition! Several students have ended up making money AND meeting the “clinical experience” criteria (see #4 above) while in this program!

  • Students may co-lead a DBT group or be provided with 1-3 DBT clients for applied learning. Assignment of groups or clients is made at the discretion of STLDBT staff and based on a student’s clinical experience and demonstration of the grasp of DBT throughout the first trimester

  • Students may use client session fees to pay down tuition (i.e. $30+ per session may be used to pay down tuition of $275/month)

    • This means if student conducts 9+ sessions per month, the program is FREE for that month.

    • Students who conduct more than 9 sessions per month, are paid as a sub-contractor of STLDBT at $30 per session

    • Co-leading groups can also help shave down that tuition with group co-leads earning an average of $30-$50 per weekly group session

Participant Requirements

  • Graduate degree in a mental health-related field from an educational program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education

  • License: Candidates with licenses will be given preference in the selection process. ALL applicants MUST have a minimum of 1 year post-graduate work, including direct clinical service experience and be within one year of licensure.

  • Ideal candidates will have completed a basic 1-2 day DBT course prior to starting DBT Academy. This is not a requirement, but without a basics course, the student may not be ready to take an STLDBT client until 4+ months into the program. If you have not had a basics course, consider attending one via dbtmo.org. They are FREE!

  • Must be available to meet Mondays from 1PM-3:30PM. Absences are allowed but tuition is NOT prorated based on absence.

  • Participants will be expected to keep up with readings and assignments. We typically assign 1 chapter per week and 1 skill practice assignment weekly

  • If participant takes on an STLDBT client, they:

    • Must sign a 1099 contract with STLDBT

    • Must provide a W9

    • Must provide proof of malpractice insurance, NPI and Tax-ID # (we will help you obtain these if you don't have them)

DBT Academy Policies

  • Course Fees: Fees are due by the 10th of each month. DBT Academy students are responsible for paying for all sessions within the trimester in which they are enrolled, regardless of attendance. Fees cover instruction, handouts, consultations as needed, and meeting space.

  • Completion Requirements: Participants must attend the full hour of each weekly session to get credit for that session. Credit is not awarded for sessions not attended. Participants must engage in group discussions about the readings and skills practices week-to-week.

  • Certificates of Credit will be awarded at the end of each trimester and prorated based on attendance.

  • Grievances: Please see our full grievance policy here if you are dissatisfied with the course

  • Accommodations: The course is held in an ADA accessible building. The suite is also ADA accessible. All other accommodations, please make your requests directly to Casey Limmer (casey@stldbt.com).

Application Process

  • Applications will be accepted until November 1, 2018. Interviews will be conducted throughout November and candidates will be notified of acceptance in December. Programming will begin January of 2019.

  • Applicants must be available to attend DBT team consult meetings every Monday from 1-2:30PM and DBT lecture/education hour from 2:30-3:30.

  • Applicants who choose NOT to see STLDBT clients will be required to have at least 2 clients through their regular employment with whom they will conduct DBT Stage I treatment. These students will also be expected to pay full fee tuition ($275/month for 12 months).

  • Complete this online application form. Email casey@stldbt.com if you have questions prior to the interview process.

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