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DBT with Suicidal Clients: 2-Video Series

When a suicidal client is sitting across from you, how do you assess risk, negotiate no-harm agreements, and manage borderline reactivity while keeping your seat? In these riveting live demonstrations with DBT originator Marsha Linehan, learn essential strategies for working with distressed clients.
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DBT with Suicidal Clients: 2-Video Series
Borderline, suicidal, and self-harming clients are some of the most challenging populations therapists face. Regardless of our level of clinical expertise, it’s crucial to master risk assessment, working with ambivalence, and managing reactivity—all while staying centered ourselves. We can all use support with these issues, and the venerable DBT creator Marsha Linehan delivers with this powerful two-video series. In this “grand rounds” offering, Linehan demonstrates key interventions of the approach, in the context of a live reenactment of a course of therapy with a suicidal client. You’ll watch the pair connect, tussle, and ultimately negotiate their way through a high-risk situation.

This series highlights Linehan’s direct, plain-spoken style, which demystifies DBT as well as disarms her client. In Volume 1, Linehan holds two early-stage sessions with Stacy, a suicidal client in treatment because her family feels she will die otherwise. In the lively sessions, Linehan remains empathic and even humorous while staying laser-focused on assessing Stacy’s suicidal risk, motives, and readiness for therapy. Volume 2 sees Linehan follow up with Stacy in a charged session focused on diffusing her cutting behavior and understanding her suicidal triggers. You’ll observe how Linehan gathers important information and addresses empathic ruptures, and you’ll see her do all of this in a warm, compassionate way that affirms Stacy’s autonomy and gently challenges her to envision more adaptive coping skills.

You’ll learn DBT skills such as validation and chain analysis, as well as “foot in the door” negotiation techniques and taking a devil’s advocate stance. Those seeking a live demonstration of DBT, proven resources for working with suicidality, self-harming, or borderline clients, or an overview of the approach from the orginator herself should make sure to add this set to their library.

Note: You can purchase each video separately, but you will save by buying the 2-video series.  The CE course must be purchased separately from the videos, and requires watching both Volume 1 and Volume 2.
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"The sessions in these videos, taking place at different stages of treatment, show how powerfully a solid, grounded DBT therapist can work with an extremely challenging cutting and suicidal client. Dr. LInehan explains the underlying assumptions and motivations behind her various interventions, their timing, and why or when she might have responded in a different way. I walk away from watching these videos with an exciting new perspective on the possibilities for working effectively with any self-harming client - borderline or not."
--Erika L. Seid, MFT, Concord, CA

"All therapists understand the high level of risk associated with client's who have long and recent suicidal attempts or self-harming behaviors. These two video presentations take DBT techniques to a new level of application, demonstrating the straightforward approach of Linehan and the honesty, self-regulation skills, and steadiness required to work with dysregulated clients. I especially appreciated the role play which was at times raw, deliberately difficult, and very effective in demonstrating that DBT is not only a technique, but an art form."
-- Margaret Evanow, Ph.D. (ABD), LPCC, DBT, CCTP
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Borderline, suicidal, and self-harming clients are some of the most challenging populations in our field—and mastery of key clinical strategies is essential for success. With a suicidal client under your watch, how do you assess risk, negotiate no-harm agreements, and manage borderline reactivity while staying grounded yourself and keeping your seat? This two-video set offers relief in the form of proven tools from Dialectical Behavior Therapy. In these compelling live demonstrations with DBT originator Marsha Linehan, you’ll find useful techniques as well as personal modeling to inform and enhance your skills.

Volume 1 of the set offers an in-depth look at common DBT assessment challenges. Linehan conducts two early-stage sessions with “client” Stacy (a student of hers who offers up one of her cases for role-play), in which she deftly confronts her “100 percent avoidance behavior” while also brokering agreements around her suicidality. Volume 2 offers an in-depth look at other common clinical challenges. Here, Linehan conducts a follow-up session with Stacy in which she deals with an empathic rupture while also negotiating around cutting behavior. In each video, you’ll observe how Linehan thoroughly assesses risk and ignores the trap of client obfuscation, yet also supports Stacy’s autonomy and challenges her to envision more adaptive coping skills.

Between assessing danger, managing reactivity, and negotiating agreements, this set offers the support you need to solidify your work with suicidal, emotionally dysregulated and borderline clients. You’ll be glad you got your hands on this essential resource.

By watching this video, you will:
  • Understand common challenges DBT therapists face with suicidal clients.
  • Discover core DBT interventions for assessing risk, managing reactivity, and negotiating agreements.
  • Learn to use psychoeducation and directiveness in order to stay focused on key clinical tasks.
Length of Series: 02:57:00
Number of Discs: 2
English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD
Marsha LinehanMarsha Linehan, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and is Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, a consortium of research projects developing new treatments and evaluating their efficacy for severely disordered and multi-diagnostic and suicidal populations. Her primary research is in the application of behavioral models to suicidal behaviors, drug abuse, and borderline personality disorder. She is also working to develop effective models for transferring science-based treatments to the clinical community.  

She is the developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a treatment originally developed for the treatment of suicidal behaviors and since expanded to treatment of borderline personality disorder and other severe and complex mental disorders, particularly those that involve serious emotion dysregulation. 

See all Marsha Linehan videos.
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CE credits: 3
Learning objectives:

  • Understand common challenges DBT therapists face with suicidal clients.
  • Discover core DBT interventions for assessing risk, managing reactivity, and negotiating agreements.
  • Learn to use psychoeducation and directiveness in order to stay focused on key clinical tasks.