Music therapist...

Join the movement as we combine DBT skills with music therapy to support those we serve to build a life worth living!

If you ever:

  •  worry about how to best support clients with impulsive behaviors and dysregulated emotions…
  •  judge yourself or fear you lack knowledge and skill…
  •  find that you are not recognized by your treatment team as the true professional you are (seen as merely fun entertainment)… 
  •  need skills to cope through difficult situations in your own life … 
  • work in a DBT program but don’t quite know how to fit in as a music therapist...
  • are excited about DBT and want to learn more about the DBT skills and how to teach them through music therapy …
  • don’t work in a DBT program but seek solutions for those difficult clients…

Then this message is just for you.

If you haven't watched the FREE introductory workshop yet, click here to learn:

  • What is DBT Informed Music Therapy?
  • 3 Ways to inegrate DBT into your Music Therapy to Support even the most Challenging Clients
Click here if you watched the introductory workshop and are ready to get started!  

What is DBT and how can knowing how to use it in your music therapy effectively support even your most challenging clients?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), created by Dr. Marsha Linehan, is an effective evidence-based treatment model using skills training to “change behavioral, emotional, thinking, and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living”. (Linehan 2015) Originally known for its effectiveness in working with patients with borderline personality disorder, DBT has now been shown to be beneficial for numerous populations and settings. 

DBT Skills Training is one component of a DBT program, and this is the area that we music therapists can make our biggest contribution. Integrating the skills for mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness into your music therapy can support your patients/clients who are involved in a DBT program as well as those who are not. 

DBT skills are useful in our own lives as well! 

Being a music therapist on a DBT treatment team, you can add a new dimension to the way the clients learn, practice, and remember the skills. 

Even if you are not part of DBT treatment team, knowing how to integrate DBT skills into your own practice can allow you to provide effective tools for mindful living, coping with stress, interpersonal interactions, and emotion regulation strategies for your clients.  

Imagine ...

...being able to articulate to your treatment team using common (DBT) terminology and language, being perceived as a professional peer, and easily collaborating with team members in providing treatment.  

Wouldn't it be great to have a repertoire of effective coping skills to pull out of a hat on a moment’s notice? To know you're providing an evidence based tried and true system you can adapt to your own clientele? An effective toolkit that works with clients with impulsive behaviors, disregulated emotions, lack of coping skills, and/or poor interpersonal skills?

You can now spend time with me and Dr. Lauren Bonavitacola studying and practicing DBT informed music therapy so you can be more effective in providing tools for your clients to create a life worth living.

Get started!  

Who we are and why we are qualified to support you with this:

My name is Deborah Spiegel MT-BC. I am recognized as a leading expert in the field of DBT Informed Music Therapy. I've spoken, presented workshops, and delivered trainings in music therapy and DBT skills nationwide since 2009. Director of The Spiegel Academy, author of Music Activities & More for Teaching DBT Skills and Enhancing Any Therapy, I am passionate about supporting music therapists in integratig DBT into their work to expand the reach of our profession into this arena. Since the time that I was first introduced to DBT in 2001, the amount of research on DBT and its effectiveness with various populations has exploded as has the popularity of its use. The need for trained music therapists in this field is growing.​

Dr. Lauren Bonavitacola is a licensed clinical psychologist and coordinator of the trauma-focused treatment programs at Cognitive & Behavioral Consultants of Westchester and Manhattan. She works with adolescents, adults, couples, families, and schools. Dr. Bonavitacola has expertise and specialized training in the delivery of evidence-based treatments for anxiety, mood, substance use, eating, and personality disorders across the lifespan. She specializes in the implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and associated conditions, as well as CBT for anxiety and mood disorders, particularly Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adolescents and adults. Dr. Bonavitacola is highly experienced and is intensively trained in all aspects of DBT and will provide you with supervision and training. She is also an MT-BC.

Lauren and I are involved in a research project to further validate the effectiveness of DBT Informed MT along with Abby Dvorak, Lindsey Landeck, and William Davis . ​Music therapists are encouraged to publish their work in this area in order to add to the research base, increase competency, provide informed treatment, and generate empirical evidence.

Maybe you're wondering...

"How can I fit into a DBT team as the music therapist?" Have you ever asked yourself that question? I sure did. "What is DBT? "Why would a music therapist who is already providing evidence based treatment have anything to do with using it?" I asked these too.

What most people do when facing a client with impulsive behaviors and disregulated emotions, possibly even working in a DBT program with no specific training, is to get a variety of books, spend hours looking for research and interventions and even more hours in trial and error music therapy sessions. But for most people, that's not efficient or effective.  

  • They don’t have an evidence based tried and true system they can adapt to their own clientele  
  • They don’t have a repertoire of coping skills to pull out of a hat on a moment’s notice  
  • They don’t know how to articulate to their treatment team using DBT terminology and language to be seen as a professional peer and easily collaborating with team members in providing treatment  

My Challenge- I've Been There Myself

In 2001 I began working at the State Hospital here in Colorado on the adolescent unit, which was a DBT milieu. I had no clue at first what DBT was. I knew that what I was doing in my music therapy sessions was effective, well designed, and supporting my patients in reaching their treatment goals. But I didn’t know, at first, how to make this all fit into the structure of DBT... 

 I wished that there was a book and/or some training out there for music therapists in this arena but there wasn't back then...  

... and I needed to figure it out since I worked in that environment and that was the model we were using.


Here's How I Solved It:

So... I sat in on the DBT skills training groups with the psychologist, attended DBT consultation groups, and attended training by Behavoral Tech (the official DBT organization who trains teams etc.) I learned the skills and all about DBT.  

Soon I was asked to co- lead skills groups, and then to be skills group leader for my own groups, as we often had more patients than would fit into one group. 

 I found myself creating music interventions to teach the skills in my DBT groups, and then in my music therapy groups I always reinforced the DBT skills. 

 I also learned how to utilize many of the same music therapy interventions that I used before DBT, now knowing how to fit them into the structure of DBT.

 I learned the common terminology to speak with my team, and now have a toolkit of DBT skills to help my clients with whatever comes up for them. 

At my facility, I was amazed to see time and time again a teen arrive with agressive behaviors, and in short order learn enough of the DBT skills to be able to stop and say " Miss Deb, I'm noticing that I'm having an urge to punch that kid for looking at me weird so can I take a time out?" 

This stuff really works!

Then I wrote a book and started teaching others...  

After figuring it out over years of trial and error, honing what worked, I wrote a book called Music Activities & More forTeaching DBT Skills and Enhancing any Therapy (Authorhouse 2010).  

This book has been modified in a new edition that will be published with Jessica Kingsley in March 2020, called Creative DBT Activities Using Music! It now includes printable handouts and easy to follow activities presented for each skill. If you want to be on the wait list to be notified when it comes out, click here.

In 2011, I became a continuing education provider with the certification board (CBMT), and began offering live workshops on DBT and music therapy, traveling around the country and presenting nationwide. I trained the entire rehabilitation therapy department in the California State Hospital system at one point; music, art, dance, recreation, and occupational therapists in 8 hospitals learned how to use their discipline to support patients in DBT. In 2012 I started my first online version of the workshop and the seed for The Spiegel Academy was planted.  

In 2016 I was asked if I could offer a program that would issue a certificate as a DBT Informed Music Therapist, to give people something to present to “the powers that be” demonstrating that a person has learned and demonstrated proficiency in being a DBT informed music therapist. We created an in-depth study program with supervision from Dr. Lauren Bonavitacola, a DBT psychologist and music therapist. Hence, the DBT Informed Music Therapy Program was born. We are moving into our fourth year.

You can now earn an endorsement as a DBT Informed Music Therapist!

Maybe you don't have years to figure it all out the way I did ...

When you Participate in the DBT Informed Music Therapy Program through The Spiegel Academy you will:

  • Gain a complete and thorough study of DBT skills with music therapy applications

  • Learn an evidence based tried and true system that you can adapt to your own clientele 

  • Have professional supervision as you implement it with your clients, able to apply the material and make it functional for music therapy 

  • Become comfortable using the DBT terminology and collaborating with other clinicians​​ 

  • Be able to to communicate with related fields more effectively and plan groups in coordination with them within the structure of DBT

  • Gain the educational essentials to maintain high standards of excellence in your professional practice

  • Feel confident in your role as a DBT informed Music Therapist 

  • Know what the skills are

  • Know how to create effective music therapy interventions within the DBT framework

  • Have a repertoire of coping skills to pull out of a hat on a moment’s notice to support your clients  

  •   Effectively create and implement MT interventions to support and reinforce the DBT skills the patients are learning​​​​  

  •  Be able to present other professionals and those in charge with a credential from the Spiegel Academy with the designation of DBT informed Music Therapist that demonstrates a working knowledge of DBT​

And what happens if you just do nothing? If you just keep doing what you’ve been doing?  

You get frustrated with those difficult clients, you feel unsure of your abilities, you wish you had skills to use, you try to figure it out by yourself, you get burnt out and fatigued, and you feel alone with the struggle.  

Learn this system to support your clients in gaining skills to :  

  • Get through Difficult Times
  •  Regulate Emotions 
  • Control Impulsive Behaviors
  •  Communicate Effectively


This DBT Informed Music Therapy Program Worked for These People, And It Will Work for You Too

"I indeed learned common language to use so that I am better able to communicate with other therapists who are working with the same clients, and also so that I can help the clients begin to understand a language they can use to better express their emotions to facilitate improved emotion regulation. I will be able to now directly implement DBT Skills & language into working 1:1 with clients, and also while working with other therapists at my facility who are trained in DBT. " 

 Diana Gross MT-BC

"Since taking the training from The Spiegel Academy, I developed a DBT skills group with the psychologist on my unit at the state hospital where we work together co-leading skills groups. The psychologist has stated that he notices a difference in the patients who attend the skills groups that are just with him versus the groups that include me, and he is more than convinced that music therapy makes a difference! We are planning our next round of groups together! I highly recommend this training. I found that this training helped me become confidant in using the language of DBT to enhance my clinical skills, and I would not have ventured into teaching skills groups without it."

 Lindsey Landeck MT-BC

Having taken both the The Spiegel Academy's Introductory and Intensive DBT informed MT trainings, I've found them to be exciting and practical. By pairing the skills of the traditional DBT modules with Music Therapy interventions, I have been better able to meet my clients where they are at and provide skills for them to move to a better place. Music Therapy is able to provide a bridge for teaching skills to those hard-to-reach clients in creative ways. After working in health care for over 10 years, I am very excited to see the partnership of DBT skills and MT interventions emerge as what is sure to be a frontrunner in best practices of care. Both DBT and Music Therapy are established practices that complement one another well, moving practice to a new level. ​Kirsten Sorensen, MT-BC

"This DBT informed Music Therapist training has been profoundly beneficial both personally and professionally. My intention was to learn tools to use with my clients, which I have, and the supervision has been priceless. The bonus to me is being able to implement the skills myself and how it has improved my own life." 

Betsey Carle MT-BC​​ 

"After 20 years working in Adult Acute Mental Health, the DBT INFORMED Music Therapy course pushed me to grow, learn, and refresh practice professionally and personally. The multi-faceted curriculum sparks ideas for reflection and practice implementation. I loved the personal validation and sharing of interventions with outcomes." 

Suzanne Makary, MT-BC Music Therapist St. Luke’s University Health Network.

Finally, Its Your Turn

The DBT Informed Music Therapy Program...consists of all of the following classes and componants. You can get started right away with the first 4 classes listed. The in-depth class with supervision begins once a year, usually in April. Pricing for the entire program and details will be posted then.

1. DBT: Practical Life Skills Reinforced through Music Therapy  

CMTE Credits: 10  

Value: $280  

Date and Length: self-study recorded version of 2 day training to take on your own time. Complete this class first.  

Description: Review the DBT Skills in the first Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Dr. Marsha Linehan and come away with lots of music therapy interventions you can use right away to instill DBT skills with your clients. You can start with this class now and upgrade to the full DBT informed MT program when open enrollment begins again in April.  

​​(Alternative to this online class: Deborah can present a 2 day workshop where she travels to your location and presents for your group. Ask for details. )​

2. Music and Mindfulness in Clinical Applications​ 

CMTE Credits: 8 Value: $200 

Date and Length: self study recorded version to take on your own time. Complete this class next.  

Description: Learn numerous music therapy interventions for practicing mindfulness​​  

3. DBT in Music Therapy Consultation Group


When: We meet oline the second Sunday of each month at 6:00 Mountain, 8:00 Eastern.


  • Be part of a small and confidential community of music therapists who are implementing DBT skills through music therapy.
  • Ask questions about what you are learning about DBT skills and how you are implementing with your music therapy
  • Have a safe place to share how you are using DBT skills in your own life. Be a role model for your clients. 
  • Refresh your knowledge of each skill through the handouts and worksheets and group discussions. 
  • Learn ideas/share ideas with your fellow group members. 
  • You can ask the group for feedback on client issues, and can get your questions answered as they relate to DBT.

4. DBT Skills Training ( Note** taken through Behavioral Tech's website 

CMTE Credits: 24?  

(**Can substitute an alternate Btech DBT skills training event of your choice.)  

Date and Length:  

Register with Behavioral Tech for the DBT Skills Training Class.

***In-Depth DBT Skills Study with Music Therapy Applications & Supervision

CMTE Credits 58  

Value: $1997  

Date and Length: 11 months. This portion of the training starts again in April 2020. We start with an online live zoom orientation meeting, then meet again monthly to focus on each of the 4 skills modules, followed by 6 months of supervision. 

Description: A thorough study of all the skills (including new skills) in Dr. Marsha Linehan's second Skills Training Manual, with live online Q&A meetings to supplement the book and the DBT Skills Training you will take form Behavioral Tech. Dr. Bonivitacola supervises and answers questions. You will have assignments for implementing the skills in your music therapy practice and your life.  

Online Community  

​Value = $1000 (Included)

Throughout, you will have access to a private DBT community where you can connect with fellow participants, post questions, and have supportive discussions about your progress in the field. Ongoing community membership access to the private forum extends beyond the year of the program.

LIVE Online Q&A Support Monthly Meetings  

Value = $900 (Included)

​One year access to monthly Q&A online meetings for open coaching. Talk about your progress, ask questions, and receive individualized customized support.

BONUSES- Plus $1000 worth of BONUSES to be announced during open registration period

Credential Value = Priceless!

See what others working in a variety of settings have to say about this program:

Betsey Carsle- MT w/ Adults & Adolescents in Acute Inpatient Psych Hospital

Chelsea Josephson- MT in Residential Treatment for Children with Cognitive Delays & Challenging Behaviors

Peggy Tileston- MT Professor

Suzanne Makary- Adult Acute Mental Health Partial Hospitalization Program 

 Victoria Mierlak- Adolescent Residential Care: Mental Health w/ Criminal Charges

What You Can Get Started with Now:

The DBT Informed Music Therapy Program...consists of all of the following classes and componants. 

You can get started right away with the first 4 classes listed. The in-depth class with supervision begins once a year, usually in April.  

Let us know you want this by putting your name on the waiting list and scheduling a time to talk. Deborah

Put me on the waiting list.
  • 1. DBT: Practical Life Skills Reinforced through Music Therapy- This class can be completed now. It is a self study class that will give you a great start on using the skills with your music therapy. It's an overview of the skills in the first DBT manual with MT interventions 10 credits 

  • 2.Music and Mindfulness In Clinical Applications -This class can also be completed now. It is a self study class, where Katie Down shares some great ideas for using music for mindfulness. 8 credits 

  • 3.Monthly online DBT in Music Therapy consultation group for music therapists - Meet online for monthly live webinars to consult with professional peers about what you have learned about the skills, and how you are implementing them into your practice and your life.

  • 4. DBT Skills Training online class from Behavioral Tech- This class is availble to us at a student discount for 2019. As of 2020 you will have to select a new option of online or live DBT Skills Training class from 24 credits

What Else You Get with the Program:

 You can take the above classes now, and can upgrade to the full program when enrollment opens next April. This is what you'll get then:

  • ** In-Depth DBT Skills Study with Music Therapy Applications- diving deeply into all the DBT skills for 5 months with an additional 6 months of Supervision- You will demonstrate a working knowledge of DBT Infomed MT by applying it with your clients. Attend 11 online supervision meetings and submit assignments. 58 credits  

  •  * BONUSES- $1000 worth of bonuses will be revealed during open registration

  • * Online Community

  • * Live online Q & A Support Monthy Meetings 

  • * Credential 

  • * You'll earn a total of 100+ CMTE credits 

  • * As a package, you will save over $2000 

Hundreds of people like you have invested in our DBT Informed MT classes since 2011. We know that if you register for this entire program and apply yourself you will be thrilled with the results. If you find that this program doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, you have 48 hours after the first day of starting the first class to get 100% of your money back. After that time, you will be able to transfer to any other classes of your choice of the same credit value from our catalog. No hassle.  

You have nothing to lose, and so much to gain!

Its Decision Time

You have a choice to make-

Take a new action, and get a new result. 

Take the leap...

 ... jump in...

... and join the movement as we combine DBT Skills with music therapy to support those we serve to build a life worth living! 

What do you really want for yourself? Your clients? Your business?

Here's what to do now...  

Get started with the first classes so you are ready to deep dive when the we open enrollment to the year long program next. (We open enrollment once a year.) The in-depth portion starts in April. We limit the number of participants so the experience is personal. You have nothing to lose. Lots to gain...

Put your name on the waiting list. Fill out an application. Schedule a time on my calendar to talk with me. Together we will determine if it's a good fit for you to join the program. We'll decide on your best next steps to take while you wait..

Click the button below.

Get on the waiting list.

Schedule a time on my calendar by clicking here. I look forward to meeting you! Deborah