Marsha Linehan had a wonderful half-day training on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) “Where We Were, Where We Are, and Where We Are Going.”
Below are some key take-aways:
* Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment that was developed by Marsha Linehan in order to help people with high suicide risk and multiple suicide attempts and/or self-harming behaviors.
- The combination of an invalidating environment during childhood plus biological factors are common contributing factors.
* She developed the dialectical approach balancing both change and radical acceptance strategies to address the fact that the patients with high risk of suicide all exhibited:
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection and invalidation
- making a change-focused treatment unbearable
- Extreme suffering (all clients had suffered extreme traumas in their childhoods)
- making an acceptance based approach also inappropriate
*Radical acceptance on the therapist’s part entails acceptance of the client’s tragic past, slower rate of improvement vs. other disorders and high risk of suicide/self-harm.
Acceptance is change! Change only happens in the context of acceptance.
*Radical acceptance on the client’s side includes accepting:
- a focus on one set of problems at a time
- the past (what’s past is past)
- the present (some things in the present can also not be changed)
- limitations of the future
* The client is taught radical acceptance skills that include both radical acceptance and distress tolerance skills (to enable the radical acceptance).
* The BPD criterion behaviors (such as the suicidal and self-harm activities) serve as a regulatory function for people with BPD (regulating their emotions) and/or are a natural result of their emotion dysregulation.
|DBT Compared to Expert Community Therapy|
|ER visits for suicidality||51%||less|
|Inpatient visits for suicidality||73%||less|
DBT structures treatment goals and targets by level of disorder:
Pre-Treatment: Commitment and Agreement (when treatment first begins)
Decreasing life-threatening behaviors, therapy-interfering behaviors (such as missing sessions or coming late), and quality-of-life interfering behaviors
Increasing behavioral skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation
Stage I: Severe Behavioral Dyscontrol
Stability and behavioral control (goal)
Stage II: Quiet Desperation
Non-anguished emotional experiencing (goal)
Stage III: Problems in Living/Simple Disorders
Ordinary happiness/unhappiness (goal)
Stage IV: Incompleteness
Freedom and capacity for joy (goal)
- Model of suicidal behavior
- Acceptance with change
- Integration of evidence-based trainings
- Suicide risk and assessment protocol
- Skills-based on evidence-based trainings and mindfulness skills
- Definition of team as part of therapy
* In general, she stated that the mental health field is moving toward a model in which emotion dysregulation is being considered a core component underlying most disorders. As a result, she thought that it was possible to think that DBT could one day be considered a potential treatment in addressing many mental health disorders (aside from BPD).
* While DBT tends to be viewed as a treatment for people with BPD only, the data indicate that it is already useful for other disorders such as eating disorders and recurrent major depressive disorder.
Where are we going?
- DBT for high risk for suicidal adolescents
- Models for integrating other evidence-based interventions into DBT (Melanie Harned, PhD)
- DBT effects on parenting effects on adolescent suicidality
- Friends and family DBT skills training
- DBT skills as prevention in school systems (Mazza and Mazza)
For the evidence-based training and/or books on DBT, please see Behavioral Tech, LLC.
Finally, below is an excellent video created by the Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center at NewYork-Presbyterian called “Back From the Edge” which offers guidance on treating Borderline Personality Disorder.
Please note that an interview providing an introduction to dialectical behavior therapy will be coming shortly…
What are your thoughts about dialectical behavior therapy? What are your thoughts about where Marsha Linehan is thinking of taking DBT?
Linehan, M., Marsha Linehan on DBT: Where we were, where we are, and where we are going training, May 3, 2012.