Music Therapy Meets DBT

(Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

A Proven Approach for Managing Impulsive Behaviors and Emotions

Hi, I'm Deborah Spiegel MT-BC, and I've been a Music Therapist since 1976. In all my years of experience, training to be a DBT informed music therapist and adding skills into my practice is what I found to be the most impactful for my patients and also in my own life.

I have been using DBT specifically in my music therapy practice since 2001, and have been training music therapists since 2011.

I and my amazing team of credentialed DBT clinicians and DBT informed music therapists are excited to share it with you so you too can have tools to make an even bigger impact on your clients and in your own life!

Whether you’re involved in a Dialectical Behavior Therapy program,

or are new to DBT and just beginning to integrate DBT into your own practice

…this page has some amazing RESOURCES to help you along the way.

  • Have a toolkit of DBT’s practical life skills and know how to utilize them with music therapy to support those you serve in creating a life worth living

  • Make a bigger impact

  • Grow professionally and personally

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

is an effective evidence-based treatment model created by Dr. Marsha Linehan, that uses skills training to support people in replacing maladaptive behaviors with skillful behaviors, in responding to life rather than reacting, and can enhance the lives of all. Reinforcing the skills for mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness through music therapy can support your patients/clients who are involved in a DBT program as well as those who are not.


The following resources on DBT and music therapy can help you grow your skill set so that you can effectively help even your more challenging clients

learn to navigate difficult times, regulate their emotions, make wise behavioral choices, and communicate effectively.

Watch this short video and find where you are on the roadmap. This will help you determine your next step on your DBT informed Music Therapy journey so you can have a bigger impact and life changing outcomes with your music therapy clients. Then read about the resources we offer and select the one that will best serve you.

Workshops, Classes, Trainings, and Books

that Take you on this Journey:

Did you know you can earn a credential with an endorsement as a DBT Informed Music Therapist?

Be one of the trained music therapists in this field so you can take your practice to the next level while supporting your clients in creating a life worth loving.

Join this comprehensive small group training.

What is DBT and why use it with music therapy?

Find out why you’ll want to add DBTs practical life skills to your music therapy practice.

(And if you’re already working with DBT, come get some new ideas)

This is offered twice a year.

Get access, or get on the waiting list by clicking the button.

DBT Foundations for Music Therapists Jumpstart Program

  • Gain foundational knowledge of DBT's practical life skills and their application in music therapy.

  • Acquire numerous music therapy interventions, resources, and tools for immediate use with clients.

  • Learn the language of DBT to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration.

  • Develop a solid understanding of fundamental DBT concepts.

  • Lay the groundwork for seamlessly integrating DBT principles into your practice.

  • Apply your payment towards the comprehensive training, maximizing your educational investment.

  • Smoothly transition into the comprehensive training, leveraging your foundational knowledge to amplify your learning journey.

    16 CMTEs

The DBT Music Therapy Resource Hub

  • Experiential DBT skill study

  • Access to music therapy session plans, interventions, and ready-made materials for each DBT skill that you can grab and use in sessions

  • Consultation groups for input from other music therapists using DBT.

  • Can even earn 21 CMTEs

This video summary of the mindfulness module of DBT demonstrates the type of resources you’ll get in full as a member of the DBT Music Therapy Resource Hub.

Creative DBT Activities

Using Music:

Interventions for Enhancing Engagement and Effectiveness in Therapy

by Deborah Spiegel, Suzanne Makary, Lauren Bonavitacola,

(Jessica Kingsley 2020)

This and the following book links

are Amazon affiliate links.

BOOK: Part 1- For Clinicians

Group activities with suggestions about how to modify the way each is presented to focus on one DBT skill over another so clinicians can find new session ideas that are useful to your practice.

Part 2- For Clients and Clinicians

A creative experiential for each DBT skill that’s written in a self-help format so that even non-musician participants can make use of them on their own. They can be used as handouts, follow-up after discharge, or as ideas for your own sessions.

What People are Saying:

Click below for experiences of other music therapists using DBT in their music therapy practices in a variety of settings.

More DBT Books

Click each photo to see more about the book on Amazon.

Research on DBT and Music Therapy

(click for details)