Training Faculty

Portland DBT Institute strives for excellence in both clinical and training settings. Our trainings offer a full orientation to DBT, from basics to more advanced courses developed to help DBT-savvy clinicians further hone their skills.  

Our training faculty is led by Dr. Linda Dimeff, PhD, a co-developer of DBT for substance abusers, with more than two decades of work with Dr. Marsha Linehan.  All members of our training team have completed the highest levels of training with Behavioral Tech and Dr. Linehan, and are DBT certified and/or recognized as a DBT Expert in a specialty area, including trauma, eating disorders, substance use, and mental health within correctional facilities.

Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable trainers balance decades of experience with enthusiasm for the latest research. Each training team member has extensive experience applying DBT, supervising others in their application of DBT, and single-handedly rolling out DBT in their unique settings.  

We offer on-site training and consultation, as well as our regularly scheduled programs throughout the year.

Linda Dimeff, PhD

Linda Dimeff, PhD serves Portland DBT Institute, Inc. as Institute Director. Dr. Dimeff previously served as Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President at BTECH Research, Inc., an organization she co-founded with Marsha M. Linehan, PhD to facilitate the training and dissemination of DBT and other evidence-based therapies (EBTs). In addition to her role at Portland DBT Institute, Linda currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Evidence-Based Practice Institute where she develops and evaluates emerging technologies that have the potential to transform training and delivery of EBTs.

Trained, supervised, and mentored by Dr. Linehan, Linda is a DBT expert clinician, consultant, and supervisor with specialty expertise in DBT for Substance Abusers. Linda is the 2011 recipient of the ISITDBT Cindy J. Sanderson Outstanding Educator Award. She is a standing member of the Mental Health Services Research grant review committee for the National Institute of Mental Health and is Adjunct Clinical Faculty at the University of Washington. Linda has received over 20 federal grants to facilitate the dissemination of evidence-based therapies and has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Clinical Practice Applications across Disorders and SettingsbasicsShe is the first author of Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS): A Harm Reduction Approach and the primary editor of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Clinical Practice: Applications Across Disorders and Settings, now in its second edition. Dr. Dimeff is a Linehan Board of Certification Certified DBT Clinician.

Linda Dimeff’s CV

Andrew White, PhD, ABPP

Dr. White received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island and was a fellow at Harvard Medical School before moving to Oregon, where he is a licensed psychologist. His clinical areas of expertise include adolescent and family treatment, clinical risk management, suicide, and implementation of evidence-based practice. He has extensive research and evaluation experience on both coasts, with specific interests in community-based program evaluation, multilevel modeling, frequent use of psychiatric emergency services, and general evaluation of evidence-based practice. As an advocate of the scientist/practitioner model, he has a strongly held value and passion for the adherent delivery of effective evidence based treatment, especially for individuals who have experienced barriers to accessing mental health services.

At PDBTI he is the Associate Director and works with the management team to set program policy, provides clinical services on the adolescent/family team, oversees research and evaluation services, and provides supervision to psychologist residents and clinical staff.  In addition, he serves as the programs Technology Manager and is responsible for information systems services which facilitate clinical care at PDBTI. DR. White is also a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician™.

Andrew White’s CV

Claudia Avina, PhD

Dr. Claudia Avina received her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She has extensive clinical experience in the provision of empirically-based treatments for ethnic minority patients and their caregivers. She has experience in the service delivery of suicide risk assessment and intervention across multiple settings including outpatient community mental health, inpatient medical units, outpatient medical clinics, and clinical research studies. She has experience in the provision of DBT for adults, teens, and their families. She is the current Director of the Adolescent DBT Treatment Program in a Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health agency that serves a population of primarily minority and financially underserved clients. Additionally, she is a primary clinical supervisor for psychology postdoctoral residents and on multidisciplinary psychiatric clinical teams. Dr. Avina has held project director roles in several clinical research studies aimed to evaluating the effectiveness of treatment for suicidal adolescents and their caregivers. She has co-authored numerous publications in the area of suicidal and self-harming adolescent populations.

Claudia Avina’s CV

Brad Beach, BA

Brad Beach has worked in the field of Juvenile Justice for over 30 years; first as a line staff, then an administrator and program manager.  Since 2004 Mr. Beach has served as Mental Health Clinical Director at Echo Glen, a model juvenile justice facility near Seattle Washington. At Echo Glen, Brad has overseen a DBT Program noted among the top corrections treatment programs in the nation. In 2006, Echo Glen was named Program of the Year by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC).  In 1997 Echo Glen became the first juvenile justice facility to implement Dialectical Behavior Therapy leading to significant decreases in suicidal and assaultive behaviors within the mental health unit.  Over the years, Mr. Beach has become a national expert on implementing Dialectical Behavior Therapy within juvenile justice and residential settings.  He has conducted trainings throughout the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia.  Mr. Beach has been consulting with and training staff in New York Juvenile Justice Facilities since 2010. He effectively engages both direct service staff and administrators, to successfully promote the broad cultural shifts necessary for implementing and sustaining DBT within large, complicated systems.

Brad Beach’s CV

Jamie Bedics, PhD

Dr. Bedics (he/him/his) received his BA in psychology from Penn State University, MS in clinical psychology from the University of Utah, and PhD in clinical psychology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, Pasadena, CA. He completed a clinical internship at the Portland VA Medical Center and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the DBT Center of Seattle. He had the unique privilege of working closely with the developer of DBT, Dr. Marsha Linehan, as both a clinician and researcher. In collaboration with Dr. Linehan, Dr. Bedics published research on the therapeutic relationship and alliance during DBT. In his full-time position, Dr. Bedics is an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University where he is the Director of the DBT Training Clinic in the Graduate School of Psychology. Dr. Bedics is also a Clinical Instructor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in the Youth, Stress and Mood Program. In this position he worked as a DBT research therapist on a large, multi-site randomized-controlled trial of DBT for suicidal and self-harming adolescents (Collaborative Adolescent Research on Emotions and Suicide or CARES). He also worked as the lead DBT trainer on a funded research study examining the effectiveness of a stepped-care model for delivering DBT in a large hospital setting (PIs: Clark, Asarnow, Linehan). As a co-investigator on this grant, Dr. Bedics rated DBT Adherence for individual and group DBT sessions. Dr. Bedics is a licensed psychologist in California and is board certified in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).

Jamie Bedics’ CV

Christopher Conley, D.S.W., RSW

Christopher Conley is a clinical social worker and is certified through the DBT Linehan Board of Certification as a Certified Clinician™.  He has over 18 years of experience working in a wide range of services including child welfare, emergency psychiatry, outpatient mental health, juvenile justice, and in implementing evidence-based treatments in community services.  He has been providing comprehensive DBT treatment since 2005 with adolescents and adults.  Currently, Christopher volunteers for the DBT Linehan Board of Certification as an adherence coder.  He is experienced in a number of behavioral and cognitive behavioral treatments including Prolonged Exposure (PE) for PTSD, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD, and CBT treatments for mood and anxiety disorders.  He is an approved PE consultant and supervisor with Dr. Edna Foa.  In addition to his clinical work and consultation services, Christopher is an Assistant Clinical Professor (PT) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University where he has supervised psychiatry residents in DBT and taught medical students interviewing skills, applied ethics, and evidence-based practice. He has led many DBT trainings for teams and individuals and is actively involved in funded research studies.

Chris Conley’s CV

Jason Fritts, LCSW

Jason Fritts, LCSWJason received his Masters in Social Work from the California State University, Fresno and earned his clinical license under supervision as a full-time therapist on the Fresno County Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) team for 2 years.  He was intensively trained in DBT by Behavioral Tech, LLC and has been providing DBT since 2013.  He has a particular interest in clinical research and mindfulness, and conducted his master’s thesis on the effects of mindfulness-based therapy for depression among economically disadvantage older adults.  He also has an interest in the intersection of art and science, and has initiated therapeutic drumming groups in both community and outpatient mental health settings.

At PDBTI, Jason is the Team Lead of the SUD/PTSD team, supporting clients’ recovery from trauma, co-occurring substance use, and mental health difficulties.  His professional training, range of personal interests (from meditation and yoga, to recreational team sports, to popular and jazz music performance), and life experiences with grief and loss inform his empathic, light-hearted, scientific, and down-to-earth approach to working with clients in therapy. Jason Fritts is a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician.

Jason Fritts’ CV

Nancy Gordon, LCSW

Nancy Gordon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Qualified Supervisor who has over 30 of experience working with children, teens, adults and families in hospital, Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), residential and Community Mental Health Center outpatient settings. She received her MSW in Boston. She lived and worked in Vermont for 30 years  before being recruited to the Tampa Bay Area in 2005.  For the majority of the last 21 years, Nancy served as Clinical Director to several programs in Vermont and Florida. She has been supervising and training staff and students for over 25 years. Nancy is an accomplished speaker, presenter and trainer locally and nationally on a wide range of clinical topics.

Nancy completed the Intensive Training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in 1998, and was the first Linehan Board Certified Clinician in Florida in 2015. She has helped train and implement DBT programs in many settings. She is nationally known for her work in adapting DBT to adolescents and had input into the adaptation of DBT to Adolescents, published by Alec Miller and Jill Rathus. She is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who has specialized in treating the most seriously disturbed adolescents and their families on all types of issues, including suicidal and self-harming behaviors, anger and behavioral problems, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety and social problems, mood disorders, school problems, ADHD, and parent training using an array of evidence-based therapy models.

In 2010 Nancy founded Tampa Bay Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TBCforCBT) which is a private practice and training center for new therapists, that provides outpatient evidence-based CBT and DBT therapy for adults and adolescents.  She also provides clinical supervision for registered interns and MSW students, as well as agency or community consultations and trainings.  Her mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families by providing access to effective, evidence-based behavioral health treatment.  Her vision is to provide exceptional training, consultation and therapy to clients, therapists and agencies. TBCforCBT offers one of the only fully adherent DBT programs in the Tampa Bay area.

Nancy Gordon’s CV

Amy Kalasunas, LPCC-S, NCC

Amy Kalasunas, LPCC-S, NCC, is a behaviorist with over 20 years of experience working within evidence-based treatment models. She has extensive training in DBT and its sub-specialty area of DBT-Prolonged Exposure (PE), as well as supervision and consultation team adherence practices.

Kalasunas is one of the few therapists in Ohio who is a DBT-LBC Certified Clinician through the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, an independently certified board that identifies providers and programs that reliably offer DBT in a way that conforms to evidence-based research. She is co-chair of the DBT-LBC Publications Committee, and serves on the DBT LBC Communications Committee. A sought-after presenter, Kalasunas consistently achieves the highest evaluation scores when presenting two- and three-day workshops on the topics of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, DBT and Complex Eating Disorders, and DBT-Prolonged Exposure and Eating Disorders.

Her clinical work has included developing, implementing, and evaluating program outcomes across the spectrum of clinical milieus, including inpatient psychiatric hospitals, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs, community mental health agencies, specialty practice clinics, and private practice offices. Her current clinical practice includes providing comprehensive DBT to adults as well as treating symptoms of PTSD with DBT-PE. She also as provides evidence-based interventions to parents of adolescents and young adults who struggle to meet expected milestones.

Amy Kalasunas’ CV

Russell Kolts, PhD

Russell Kolts is a Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University and Director of the Inland Northwest Compassionate Mind Center in Spokane, Washington, USA. He has authored or co-authored scientific articles in various areas of psychology and has written several books about CFT and compassion, including CFT Made Simple, The Compassionate Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger, An Open-Hearted Life: Transformative Lessons on Compassionate Living from a Clinical Psychologist and a Buddhist Nun (with Thubten Chodron), and Experiencing Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out (with Tobyn Bell, James Bennett-Levy, and Chris Irons).

New book, Experiencing Compassion-Focused Therapy From the Inside Out, currently available.

TEDx talk:

Russell Kolts’ CV

Cedar Koons, MSW

mindfulness solutionCedar Koons, MSW, LCSW, is a consultant, teacher, researcher and therapist specializing in mindfulness-based treatments including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  Cedar,  certified as a DBT therapist by the Linehan Board of Certification, is a senior trainer and consultant for Behavioral Tech, and a co-founder of Santa Fe DBT, LLC where she was team leader from 1998 – 2016. She has taught and consulted all over the US, in Europe, Australia and Japan. Cedar also teaches mindfulness and is the author of The Mindfulness Solution for Intense Emotions: Take Control of Borderline Personality Disorder with DBT.  She lives in Dixon, New Mexico.

Cedar Koons’ CV

Ashley Maliken, PhD

Ashley Maliken, PhD, DBT-LBC (she/her) is licensed psychologist with expertise in providing evidence-based treatments to adolescents, young adults and their families. She recently joined PDBTI in the role of Acting Director of Training and Quality Assurance and as a member of the Teen and Training Teams. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and has dedicated her career to the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practice. Dr. Maliken earned her doctorate from the University of Washington where she learned DBT with Dr. Marsha Linehan. Before coming to PDBTI, Dr. Maliken was Associate Professor and part of the DBT-LBC certified Multifamily DBT program in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Berkeley. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Maliken has worked as the Associate Training Director for the CAP Fellowship at UCSF and has extensive experience providing interdisciplinary teaching, training, consultation and supervision in DBT and CBT.

Outside of work, Ashley identifies as a cis, het, white, able-bodied neurotypical east coast native. She’s returning to the PNW after a stint in the Bay Area, and is delighted by the green (less so by the chilly rain). Favorite ABC PLEASE skills include eating cookies and cream ice cream, being outside, listening to podcasts, being on time and building Legos with her kiddos.

Ashley Maliken’s CV

Ajeng Puspitasari, LP, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Puspitasari is a clinical psychologist whose work focuses on the implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) for adults with serious mental illness, which include Behavioral Activation (BA), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Currently, she is a clinical director for partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs at Rogers Behavioral Health in Minnesota. She is board certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) with a specialty in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology. As a scientist practitioner, Dr. Puspitasari’s research focuses on the dissemination and implementation of EBPs in diverse behavioral health settings. She has provided BA training for clinicians both in the United States and internationally.

Ajeng Puspitasari’s CV

Leah Smart-Gordon, LCSW

Leah Smart-Gordon graduated with her Masters in Social Work degree from Florida State University in 2013 and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oregon and Florida. She has experience with social work in hospital settings here and abroad as she did her MSW internship in Dublin, Ireland. Leah first started her DBT training in 2013 and has continued her passion for helping people who struggle with self-harming behaviors, suicidality and severe emotional dysregulation. She was initially trained by Nancy Gordon, LCSW, DBT-LBC Certified Clinician, while working at Tampa Bay Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and also completed an Advanced Intensive Training with Charles Swenson, MD and Kelly Koerner, PhD. Leah has worked with younger children, teens and adults and has experience leading many DBT groups as well as Family Education and Support groups. Although Leah has spent the last 12 years living in Florida she was born and raised in Vermont and is excited to get out of the brutal heat and live closer to mountains. Leah is Assistant Manager on the Path to Mindful Eating Team at PDBTI.

Leah Smart-Gordon’s CV

Irmary Rodríguez Rivera, PhD

Irmary Rodríguez Rivera, PhD, is a first generation doctoral, queer, Puertorican folk and licensed clinician. They received their doctorate in clinical psychology from Albizu University San Juan Campus, at Puerto Rico. They provide comprehensive DBT and evidence-based treatment to teenagers and adults, families, groups and couples. Irmary has dedicated her career to treating mood, personality, trauma, substance use, eating, suicidality, self-harm related behaviors and disorders.  They have clinical experience in a wide range of settings from outpatient and IOP to residential and inpatient hospitalization. Dr. Rodríguez Rivera is a DBT- Certified Clinician by the Linehan Board of Certification. 

Dr. Rodríguez Rivera strives to increase accessibility of DBT to communities, such as LGBTQIA+, non monogamous and BIPOC population. Consequently, they participate in DBT BIPOC anti racism meetings, attend research efforts such as World DBT Association research committee and are developing a Spanish language program for DBT groups. Irmary has offered consultation and training to providers and practicum students regarding research and DBT interventions. 

Outside of work, Irmary enjoys anime, crocheting, hiking, baking, camping and mastering new skills. Currently increasing and nurturing community in the PNW by linking previous and soon to be new hobbies and interests with others. 

Irmary Rodríguez Rivera’s CV

Josh Smith, MSW, LMSW

Josh Smith, MSW, LMSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Michigan. He is the co-owner of the DBT Institute of Michigan as well as a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician™.  Upon getting his master’s degree in social work in 2002, Josh became an outpatient therapist for Pines Behavioral Health in Coldwater, Michigan. After leaving Pines, Josh went on to lead numerous DBT program development trainings in all levels of care (inpatient, partial/day programs, outpatient, residential and forensic) for both adolescents and adults.

From 2005- 2012, he was a trainer in DBT for PESI, LLC.  During this time, he gave over 300 lectures on DBT all over the United States.  He has provided multiple DBT implementation training projects in a variety of settings including outpatient, inpatient, residential, schools, and forensics.  Josh is currently the lead DBT trainer and consultant for the Department of Community Mental Health Association in the State of Michigan.

Josh is a Clinical Instructor in the School of Social Work and the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan State University where he teaches DBT to MSW students as well as second and third year psychiatry residents.  He currently provides supervision to a number of clinicians in DBT from across the country in a variety of settings.  Josh obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan State University and received his 10-Day Intensive DBT Training by Behavioral Tech in 2004.  From 2012-2014, he received DBT supervision from international DBT expert and author, PDBTI’s Linda Dimeff, PhD.

Josh Smith’s CV

April Sobieralski, PsyD

Dr. April Sobieralski is DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician™. She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Xavier University in 2012 and is a licensed psychologist. She is the founder of LakeWest DBT Center, an outpatient therapy clinic. Her area of expertise is in adherent Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and she has been intensively trained by Behavioral Tech, LLC trainers. April has experience using DBT to treat many disorders involving emotion dysregulation and eating disorder symptomology. April specializes in behavioral treatments, in addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of social and emotional difficulties. She also uses exposure-based therapies to treat symptoms related to trauma, including having advanced intensive training in the DBT Prolonged Exposure Therapy Protocol for PTSD. April offers supervision, consultation, and training for colleagues seeking continuing education and has provided training for specialization in DBT and DBT workshops for community centers. She has experience developing and managing DBT-informed higher levels of care. April was presented with the Outstanding Early Career Psychologist Award in 2016 from the Cleveland Psychological Association (CPA) and currently volunteers her time on the Board of Trustees of CPA as the President.

April Sobieralski’s CV

Erica Tan, PsyD

Erica Tan, PsyD, received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Regent University. Presently, she is a licensed psychologist in Oregon and is an Adolescent and Family team member at Portland DBT Institute working extensively with at-risk teens who struggle with self-harming behaviors and suicidality. She also specializes in work with LGBTQIAA individuals and their families. As a senior member of the staff at PDBTI, she provides supervision to post-doctoral residents on site.  Dr. Tan has led 2-day trainings and helped to co-lead the 5 day CITI intensive training sponsored by PDBTI.  She also provides consultation to programs and other therapists. Dr. Tan has received intensive and advanced intensive DBT training with BTech in 2011 and 2012, additional 2-day DBT training, and mindfulness retreats. To support her practice as a psychologist who values empirically supported treatments, Dr. Tan recently became a DBT- Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician™. Erica is currently supervised by Linda Dimeff, PhD.

Erica Tan’s CV

Pam Buck, PhD

Pamela Buck, PhDDr. Pam Buck is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Boston Child Study Center, where she provides evidence-based treatments to young adults and families with mood and anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma-related disorders, substance use and eating disorders, attention-related difficulties and personality disorders. She provides DBT, and evidence-based treatments for PTSD: prolonged exposure (PE), DBT-PE, DBT-PTSD, and Cognitive Processing Therapy. Dr. Buck is a DBT-Certified Clinician by the Linehan Board of Certification.

Dr. Buck earned a Bachelor of Science in global development studies at Georgetown University – School of Foreign Service.. She completed graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in social change and development. Dr. Buck earned a second bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University at Albany, SUNY. She then completed her Master of Arts and doctorate in clinical psychology at Duke University, where she was awarded multiple Fieldwork Grants and a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the Duke Global Health Institute to support her research in Thailand. Dr. Buck’s dissertation focused on the expansion of mental health service delivery among refugees and immigrants from Burma in the USA, including the development of a CBT-based paraprofessional training manual for community and religious leaders to provide support for depression among community members. Dr. Buck’s manual was translated into Burmese, Karen, Thai and Nepali; and was later utilized to study CBT-based support for depression among Philippine domestic workers in Singapore.

Pam Buck’s CV