Conceptualizing Cases in Dialectical Behavior Therapy


Case conceptualization is an integral piece of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  It bridges the gap between the philosophical, strategic and structural pieces of the treatment.  Case conceptualization is begun in pre-treatment and changes as information is gathered through assessment, chain analysis and application of the various treatments used in DBT. 

In many ways, the case conceptualization process is “thinking DBT.” As such, when the Linehan Board of Certification determined that there needed to be a means of measuring whether or not potential certificate holders could formulate cases from a DBT perspective, formal case conceptualization was added to the work sample section of DBT Individual Certification ( .  In this process, applicants are asked to complete a written case conceptualization based on the client whose session tapes will later be submitted to the board for adherence coding (the final aspect of the certification process). 

This course is designed for clinicians who: 1) want to learn how to conceptualize treatment from a DBT framework, 2) want to increase their DBT fidelity, 3) are in the certification process or are interested in becoming certified in upcoming years. Note: this course is not a requirement for certification nor is affiliated with the DBT-LBC.  

Shari Manning, PhD, the instructor for this course, has been involved in the DBT-LBC work product demonstration and has recently completed a chapter on case conceptualization for a book in press. 

Because of the brief nature of this course, participants are assumed to have working knowledge of the concepts in DBT case conceptualization.  These include: biosocial theory, primary and secondary targets, stages of treatment chain analyses and DBT change procedures.  Participants will review sections of the case conceptualization and practice identifying them in their own client population.  Participants will have opportunities to present during the second class. 

Each participant will be asked to complete a case conceptualization between the January and the March class meetings.  The second meeting will review the written cases and provide feedback on examples from the participants.  In order to augment learning, Shari Manning will host an “office hours” conference call on February 15 from 3-4pm ET.  Participants will be provided with the conference call information and invited to call in to ask questions and receive assistance in working on their DBT Case Conceptualization homework.  Because of Dr. Manning’s role with the DBT-LBC, we request that you not complete your homework on a client that you will be submitting to the board if you pursue certification. 

Do you want some individualized time to review a case conceptualization or plan for certification?    We also offer CUSTOMIZED CERTIFICATION PREPARATION AND PLANNING.  For more information and/or to schedule your assessment times, contact Helen Best at or (206)251-5134

Topics for the Course Include: 

Week 1:     

  • Introduction to DBT case conceptualization
  • How is biosocial theory present in a client?
  • Identifying stages and primary targets across the case conceptualization
  • Identifying secondary targets and their place in the case conceptualization

Week 2:

  • Questions/Homework from Week 1
  • Identifying Controlling Variables
  • Creating solutions for the controlling variables
  • How do you know if it’s working? 


$50 per person (USD)

Register online at and click on Training Registration. Pay by credit card, PayPal or check (you do not need to have a PayPal account to pay online, just choose guest checkout). 

Checks payable to: Treatment Implementation Collaborative. 

Mail to: 6327 46th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98136 


- If you are registering someone else, please enter your name in the BILLING section and the participant's name in the PARTICIPANT section. If you are registering more than one person, please add the additional names AND email addresses in the GROUP section. We MUST have emails for all participants to complete their registrations. 

- After your payment is received, we will send you an email with instructions on how to access the course. Depending on the day and time of your order, this can take up to 24 hours. Orders received on Friday afternoons will be processed on the following Monday.

Conceptualizing Cases in Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Item #: Conceptualizing Cases 2018
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Tuition $50.00