Originally designed by Dr Marsha Linehan (1993) for people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, the use of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has been expanded to a range of clinical populations, including those with substance abuse difficulties individuals experiencing depression with comorbid personality disorders, and offenders. There is growing evidence for using DBT with individuals with cognitive impairment (e.g., Intellectual Disability, acquired brain injury, severe mental illness, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). DBT essentially utilises a behavioural approach to treatment, making it more appealing and potentially effective given the proven effectiveness of behavioural interventions for this population. Addressing psychological distress with the assistance of DBT based skills is thought to better equip individuals in managing their psychological distress and make relevant behavioural shifts. DBT can also be considered a strengths-based model and is consistent with psychoeducational and habilitative practice. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this, the training participants will be able to develop:

  • Knowledge and skills on using DBT reconceptualisation and skills in working with cognitively impaired individuals with challenging/offending behaviours.
  • Learn skills and techniques in the use of DBT coping skills with individuals with challenging/offending behaviours.
  • Introduce the adapted DBT coping skills group program, which can be utilised as a part of individual and/or group-based treatment.
  • Learn how to incorporate DBT reconceptualisation and skills in developing the client’s risk and behaviour management plans. 

Who should attend?

This two-day online training workshop is suitable for mental health professionals (e.g., counsellors, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, etc.) who work with complex clients (adults and adolescents) with cognitive impairment who exhibit challenging/offending behaviours (e.g., aggressive/violent behaviours, problematic sexual behaviours, criminal behaviours, etc.). 

Please visit this website to register: https://courses.theemotionsclinic.com.au/courses/DBTforID-a-2-day-live-virtual-masterclass. Please email Dr Sakdalan on jaspsychology.com.au if there are  any queries.


Dr Joseph Allan Sakdalan, BSc, MA, MPH, MD, MScForPsych, PhD CPsych, FCCP, FCCN 

Dr Joseph Allan Sakdalan

Dr Sakdalan is an NZ and AHPRA registered clinical psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist who has over 25 years of clinical experience with complex clients with mental health issues, cognitive problems, intellectual disability and developmental disorders, and challenging/offending behaviours. He and his colleagues pioneered the adapted DBT coping skills program for clients with intellectual disabilities with challenging/offending behaviours. In addition, he has developed a suite of offence-related and offence-specific treatment group-based programs (e.g. sexual offending, family violence, general offending, treatment readiness, substance abuse) for forensic and correctional services. Dr Sakdalan has written book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. He has run training workshops locally and internationally.