DBT-Informed Treatment of Bipolar Affective Disorder

DBT-Informed Treatment of Bipolar Affective Disorder

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Bipolar Affective Disorder (BD) is a serious mental health problem that typically creates chaos in an individual’s life, often leading to risky and impulsive behaviors, damaged relationship and careers, substance use problems, hospitalization, and even suicide. Because of the complexity of this disorder – the different episodes, variability of symptoms from person to person as well as from episode to episode within the same individual – Bipolar Disorder can be difficult for clinicians to recognize. Improper diagnosis leads to improper treatment, which can cause worsening of symptoms for individuals. Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, however, it’s often equally as difficult to help our clients to accept and understand this diagnosis, which contributes to difficulties following prescribed treatment recommendations.


In this webinar you will learn about bipolar disorder, including the different diagnostic categories of BD, and its causes, as well as the disorders that often co-occur with bipolar disorder and the difficulties people experience in living with this and the co-morbid disorders. In gaining a greater understanding yourself as a clinician of bipolar disorder, you’ll be in a more effective position to help your clients to understand and accept their mental health problems, which will typically lead to improved outcomes for clients. You’ll also learn about the existing psychotherapies being used to treat bipolar disorder.


Finally, based on her ground-breaking work using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to treat BD, Sheri Van Dijk will examine the efficacy of DBT in treating this illness, and delve into some of the DBT skills most pertinent to clients with this complex illness.

At the end of this webinar, participants will:

  • Be familiar with the DSM-V diagnoses, rates, and aetiology of bipolar disorder
  • Have an understanding of the co-morbidities, suicidality and other difficulties in living with BD
  • Have an understanding of important information to provide psychoeducation to clients
  • Be more able to helping clients accept and understand their illness through psychoeducation
  • Be familiar with current evidence-based treatments for BD, and understand how DBT will be helpful in treating this population
  • Understand the theoretical rationale for using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in treating BD.
  • Be familiar with some of the main DBT skills used in treating BD, including mindfulness and acceptance techniques, distress tolerance skills, and skills to manage emotions more effectively

Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, RSW, is the author of seven DBT books, including The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder, Calming the Emotional Storm, and Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens, the focus of which is to teach clients how to use mindfulness practice and DBT skills to help them live emotionally healthier lives.


She has also written DBT Made Simple, the aim of which was to make DBT more accessible to therapists working with diagnoses other than BPD; and she has been presenting extensively in Canada and abroad with this goal as well.


Sheri is the winner of the R.O. Jones award for her research on using DBT skills with bipolar disorder, presented at the Canadian Psychiatric Association Conference in September, 2010. Sheri is an experienced presenter who has been training professionals extensively in Canada and the USA over the last nine years.


Her training is fast-paced, full of examples from her clinical practice, and demonstrates the use of self she describes as essential to working with clients in DBT. She draws from her clinical experience with the clients she works with in both her private practice and at a community hospital in Ontario, Canada, where she has been providing DBT-informed therapy for clients with mixed diagnosis in individual and group therapy.

This online workshop will give you instant access to the course video content (5 hours duration), accessible via streaming on our website, as well as downloads for supplemental materials. You can view the course content in your own time, there is no time limit on access.


Please click the green ‘Mark Complete’ button on each module as you progress.


A certificate of completion will be generated upon finishing the course and completing a short assessment quiz. If the certificate is not showing, please confirm you have marked all sections as ‘Complete’. Please consult your professional organisation/association to confirm whether you are able to claim any CPD points/hours for this online workshop.