22 Maggio 2020@9:00–24 Maggio 2020@15:00

The Workshop is addressed to Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Medical Psychotherapists, Medical Psychiatrists, Child Psychiatrists

The workshop will be held in a webinar format via the ZOOM platform from 09.00 to 15.00 GMT +1. Upon confirmation of registration you will receive all indications and directions for attending.



Martin Bohus received his M.D. at Freiburg Medical School and did his residency in Psychiatry and Neurology at Freiburg Medical School. He made his specialty in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and in Psychosomatic Medicine. Since 2003, he holds the chair of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Heidelberg University and is Scientific Director at the Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim. He holds a visiting professorship at University of Antwerp and Harvard Medical School, Boston USA. He received several awards for psychotherapy research. He is board member of the German Association of Psychiatry DGPPN, past president of the European Society for the Studies of Personality Disorders (ESSPD), vice president of the International Society for the Studies of Personality Disorders (ISSPD), president of the German Association for DBT and Chair of the International Strategic Planning Meeting for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (SPM). He was president and Initiator: 1st International Congress on Borderline Personality Disorder, Berlin 2010 was spokesperson of the  Center Grant “Mechanisms of Disturbed Emotion Processing in BPD”. He has currently published more than 350 articles and book chapters, mainly on mechanisms of psychotherapy, borderline personality disorders and PTSD.


About 60% of BPD clients also suffer from serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); most of them are also victims of sexual abuse in childhood. Even if standard DBT shows to be effective, a complementary treatment is often needed for these issues. In collaboration with Marsha Linehan, at the Central Institute of Mental Health, in Mannheim (Germany), a new treatment programme was developed, with targeted modules for this clinical population. The model is based on the DBT rules and principles complemented with some additional cognitive techniques focused on trauma, exposure techniques as well as compassion-focused therapy components (P. Gilbert) and ACT (S. Hayes).

The effectiveness of the DBT-PTSD treatment was demonstrated through randomised studies which showed a wide effect size (d=1.4), a very low dropout rate and very good outcomes.

DBT-PTSD programme is either an outpatient psychotherapeutic treatment of 45 sessions or a 3-month inpatient treatment and was designed to be applied to a wide range of PTSD patients who suffered from serious abuses including subjects with high levels of psychopathology such as high dissociative symptoms, chronic suicidality and constant suicidal behaviours and suicidal attempts. This is reflected in the module-based structure of the programme which includes different components added with flexibility to meet both the psychopathological complexity and the crisis within an organised structure.

The programme consists of 3 stages of treatment. In the first stage patients receive psycho-education and learn to identify strategies to escape and avoid trauma-related emotions (dissociation, self-harm, self-hatred, etc.). On the basis of this customised functional analysis, clients learn to use DBT strategies to control their behaviours. The second stage is based on trauma-focused cognitive interventions and on exposure interventions. If clients show strong dissociative features, then they are trained to use specific skills to balance memory activation and the awareness of staying in the present moment (assisted exposure to the skill). The therapist helps the clients reduce dissociative symptoms, cope with nightmares and flashbacks. In the third stage patients work on radical acceptance of trauma-related experiences and get prepared to go back to a normal life. In this stage special attention is attached to psycho-social aspects. These modules were developed in accordance with clients’ needs, following the DBT hierarchy of target behaviours (Linehan 1993): priority is explicitly given to life-threatening behaviours.

Teaching goals:

  • deepening the knowledge of DBT in the evidence-based treatment of PTSD and its comorbidities;
  • learning to cope with trauma-related cognitions and face the typical escape and avoidance strategies;
  • learning how to get clients to commit in exposure interventions and how to cope with dissociative states which arise in those moments;
  • learning a new interpretation of the concept of compassionate mindfulness and strategies to allow and facilitate the process of radical acceptance in clients.


The following topics will be covered:

  • Principles and core aspects of DBT-PTSD ;
  • The DBT-PTSD Model;
  • Compassionate Mindfulness
  • First Stage of the treatment: how to get the client’s commitment;
  • Motivation: individual values, targets and goals;
  • Individual Trauma Model;
  • Analysis of escape and avoidance behaviours;
  • Distress Tolerance Skills;
  • How to cope with a Shame Guilt and Disgust;
  • Assisted Exposure with the Skills;
  • How to live after PTSD.

The training course is organised in 3 days, six-hour day each with the following timetable:
9:00-11:00 lecture 
11:00-11:30 break
11:30-13:00 lecture
13:00-13:30 break
13:30-15:00 lecture



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