Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Colorful and Monochrome Rose
Colorful and Monochrome Rose

The idea behind DBT, which I have never done as a therapist nor as a patient until I attended NAMI Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Program ©, is to hold opposing ideas together to learn acceptance and more nuanced thinking as opposed to black and white thinking.

Marsha Linehan, PhD developed DBT. According to The Linehan Institute:

The treatment she has developed combines the technology of change derived from behavioral science with the radical acceptance, or “technology of acceptance,” derived from both eastern zen practices and western contemplative spirituality. The practice of mindfulness, willingness, and radical acceptance form an important part of her treatment approach.

I’m no zen master. I attended a Christian seminary, but did not complete my studies. I would, though, like to learn more about contemplative practices (both eastern and western) and more about DBT.

29 thoughts on “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

  1. gertiesjourney September 28, 2014 / 4:02 pm

    DBT has helped me a great deal. In fact if it wasn’t for DBT I would NOT be in recovery today. I would be one of two places; the State Hospital or dead. Most likely I would be that latter. I am a recovered Borderline because of DBT. What I am mean by recovered Borderline is that I no longer meet the criteria for Borderline. Yes, it is helpful for those who don’t have Borderline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley September 29, 2014 / 5:28 pm

      Good job! Marsha Linehan PhD has done much to help those with Borderline with DBT. I imagine it could be helpful for everyone, actually. Especially the zen mindfulness practices.


  2. abodyofhope September 25, 2014 / 7:03 am

    I might recommend trying Biofeedback as one of the integrative approaches you use for this exercise. Many therapists in this feild are trained in visualization, Reiki, hydrotherapy, guided meditation, and other unique introspective and relaxation combination therapies.
    Best of luck on your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley September 25, 2014 / 1:41 pm

      My son has used biofeedback to help him with stress. The catch is using the biofeedback skills you develop in the real world.


      • abodyofhope September 26, 2014 / 4:06 am

        Yes, after Biofeedback it took time integrating the tools from the training. It can be like that with many therapies…
        I’m so glad to hear your son tried it.
        I did it for many months about 9 years ago and have found many applications for the tools in my daily life, but it’s always different for everyone.
        And I meant hypnotherapy, not hydrotherapy.
        The newer Neurofeedback is also an interesting tool. But again, as you said, that seems more for healing and even fewer daily applications.
        Thank you for responding! Always enjoy your posts.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley September 26, 2014 / 12:30 pm

          My mother and father are a huge proponents for hypnotherapy, which I have tried as well. My mother used it to help her during cancer treatments, my father to quit smoking, and I have used the techniques to help me succeed at test taking.


          • abodyofhope September 28, 2014 / 10:25 am

            Very interesting! I learned self-hypnosis tools, but I have heard that hypnosis and self-hypnosis can be excellent tools for cancer patients as well.
            Thank you for feeding my brain today.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kitt O'Malley September 28, 2014 / 12:20 pm

            Self-hypnosis tools are great for many, many purposes. Thank you for considering my comment food for thought.


  3. Lisa September 24, 2014 / 8:19 am

    I use that therapy every day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa September 25, 2014 / 2:14 pm

        Me too, girl! I loaded my kitchen table down with everything in the kitchen because the exterminator is coming and I have to leave stuff out. I thought, there. Now there’s no possibility of me flipping the kitchen table. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. dyane September 24, 2014 / 6:16 am

    Whaaaaat? You’re not a Zen Master? I thought you were all this time!

    That’s it! I’m unfollowing! 😉

    On a more serious note, I’ve heard about the term “DBT” and Linehan’s name for a while, but I’ve known nothing about it. It does sound quite helpful if it breaks up black & white thinking. That’s great that NAMI addresses it in the course.

    p.s. beautiful rose picture – love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley September 24, 2014 / 7:34 am

      I love taking pictures of roses, of flowers, of pretty things in nature. I’ll have to add a link to my flickr page.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dyane September 24, 2014 / 9:41 am

        I grew up with my window facing a beautiful rose garden tended by my father. Dad loved all the different varieties – he got a kick out of the names like “Mr. Lincoln”. He was a master gardener and could raise anything well except for avocado trees, his nemesis. Those trees just couldn’t stand the Palisadian adobe soil no matter what he mixed with it. When one died, boy, did he get CRANKY! On a positive note, roses represent very good memories for me! I look forward to seeing more of your pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sandy Sue September 24, 2014 / 2:33 am

    My therapist introduced me to a wonderful book. “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach. She also has meditation tapes available that I’ve used. Very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley September 24, 2014 / 7:21 am

      Thank you. I must check our Tara Brach’s book. My mother used meditation tapes to help her with her cancer treatment. She swears by meditation and self-hypnosis. When I was an undergraduate, I used self-hypnosis techniques to prepare myself for taking exams. Quite helpful. Relaxed my mind and allowed for better recall.


      • Laura Droege September 24, 2014 / 8:04 am

        Interesting that you mentioned the self-hypnosis. I read of a medical case where a man with hemophilia was hypnotized prior to having dental work (I believed he had several teeth pulled.) Obviously, with a blood clotting disorder, he might have needed lots of blood infusions to recover. But the hypnosis (apparently) slowed the blood flow enough that he didn’t need as many infusions as expected. (He got the idea from reading about Rasputin and his “healing” of the hemophiliac son of the last Tsar of Russia; one theory of Rasputin’s “miracles” is that he hypnotized the boy.) So there’s at least anecdotal evidence for hypnosis helping certain conditions. Not sure there’s been a lot of official studies, though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley September 24, 2014 / 7:22 pm

          My mother swears by it. It helps her tremendously during treatment. She uses it for relaxation and to reduce discomfort and pain during treatments. She also uses it to imagine her body attacking the cancer cells.


  6. bkpyett September 23, 2014 / 9:58 pm

    From personal experience I find acceptance has a wonderfully calming effect on the brain, allowing good things to follow! 🙂 Worry has the opposite effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley September 23, 2014 / 10:23 pm

      Wise words. Haven’t quite mastered it, though. Still worry.


  7. mihrank September 23, 2014 / 9:43 pm

    another strong and powerful meaningful article! Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. WiL September 23, 2014 / 9:18 pm

    DBT changed my life! Debbie Corso is a peer who is a great resource for all things DBT. Her website is healingfrombpd.org

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley September 23, 2014 / 10:21 pm

      Thank you! So glad that DBT helped you. Dr. Linehan struggled with self-injury as a young woman. She recently “came out” about her early hospitalizations. I will have to check out Debbie Corso’s site.


      • WiL September 24, 2014 / 5:55 am

        Yes. I’ve listened to several of Dr. Linehan’s talks on YouTube. She went through a lot as most of us with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) usually do. I think DBT can benefit those without BPD as well though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley September 24, 2014 / 7:32 am

          It can benefit everyone. Dialectical thinking is very zen, very contemplative, very wise. The concepts have been around for a long time in both Eastern (Buddhism) and Western (Greek philosophers and Christian contemplatives) thought. Thanks for letting me know that she is on YouTube.


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