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The Use of Adapted Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Coping Skills for Cognitively Impaired Clients with Challenging/Offending Behaviours, Melbourne, 4-5 June

Jul. 30 — 31, 2020 12:00:00 AM - 12:00:00 AM

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Originally designed by Dr Marsha Linehan (1993) for people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, the use of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has been expanded to a range of clinical populations including those with substance abuse difficulties, individuals experiencing depression with comorbid personality disorders, and offenders. There is growing evidence for the use of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) with individual with cognitive impairment (e.g. Intellectual Disability, acquired brain injury, severe mental illness, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). DBT largely utilises a behavioural approach to treatment which makes it more appealing and potentially effective given the proven effectiveness of behavioural interventions for this population. Addressing psychological distress with the assistance of DBT based skills is thought to better equip individuals in managing their psychological distress and make relevant behavioural shifts. DBT can also be considered a strength-based model and is consistent with psychoeducational and habilitative practice. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this the training participants will be able to develop:

  • Knowledge and skills on the use of DBT reconceptualization and skills in working with cognitively impaired individuals with challenging/offending behaviours
  • Learn skills and techniques in the use of DBT coping skills with individuals with challenging/offending behaviours
  • Introduce the adapted DBT coping skills group program which can be utilized as part of individual and/or group-based treatment
  • Learn how to incorporate DBT reconceptualization and skills in the development of the client’s risk and behaviour management plans. 

Who should attend?

This two-day intensive training workshop is suitable for mental health professionals (e.g. counsellors, psychologists, social worker, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, etc.) who work with complex clients (adults and adolescents) with cognitive impairment who exhibit challenging/offending behaviours (e.g. aggressive/violent behaviours, problematic sexual behaviours, criminal behaviours, etc.). 

The two-day training workshop costs $575.00. There are limited slots available so please email if you have any queries or to register. The training workshop is scheduled on the 30 and 31 July 2020. Venue is near Melbourne CBD and TBA. 


Dr Joseph Allan Sakdalan

MA, MPH, MD, MScForPsych, PhD CPsych 

Yvonne Maxwell

BAppSc (Psych), GradDipPsych, GCDVioFamPrac

About the Presenters:

Dr Joseph Allan Sakdalan

Dr Sakdalan is an NZ and AHPRA registered clinical psychologist, counselling psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist who have more than 20-years-experience working with complex clients with mental health issues, cognitive problems, developmental disorders, and offending behaviours. Dr Sakdalan’s involvement was pivotal in the development, implementation and evaluation of offence-specific and offence-related group programs and risk assessment and management systems being implemented by the Forensic Intellectual Disability Service, Mason Clinic in Auckland, New Zealand. He and his colleagues pioneered the development of the adapted DBT coping skills program for forensic clients with intellectual disability (Sakdalan, Shaw & Collier, 2010). In addition, he has developed a suite of offence-related and offence-specific treatment group-based programs (e.g. sexual offending, family violence, general offending, treatment readiness, substance abuse)  for forensic and correctional services locally and internationally. Dr Sakdalan has written book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles. He has also presented in local and international conferences in his specialty areas. 

Dr Sakdalan obtained master’s degrees in Applied Forensic Psychology (University of Leicester) and counselling psychology (Ateneo de Manila University), and a Doctor of Philosophy Major in Clinical Psychology (Ateneo de Manila University). He completed subspecialty training in clinical neuropsychology (Massey University) and forensic psychiatry (Auckland University). In addition, he has a medical degree (University of the East, Philippines) and a Masters of Public Health (University of Melbourne). 

Dr Yvonne Maxwell

Ms Maxwell is an AHPRA registered psychologist who currently works with complex clients, within forensic and disability fields. Ms Maxwell has over eight years’ experience working with individuals who have a disability, including as a disability support worker, ABA therapist and psychologist. Ms Maxwell also has more than seven years’ experience of working with individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system, in both welfare and clinical roles. This has included the provision of assessment for treatment needs and individual and group-based intervention to individuals with offending behaviour. Ms Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology), Graduate Diploma of Psychology, Graduate Certificate of Domestic and Family Violence Practice, and Doctorate of Forensic Psychology.