Dialectical Behavioural Therapy


A few months back I was told my name would be going on a waiting list to begin a therapy which would hopefully help to treat my borderline personality disorder, safe in the knowledge that in a few months time I would begin this new therapy I went about my normal day to day somewhat boring life. In august I got the call saying my name had come up and I was asked to meet a therapist to discuss taking a place on the programme. Almost without hesitation I agreed to take a place on the therapy which is made up of three parts, Individual weekly sessions, weekly group sessions aimed at learning new ways of coping and homework which is practicing the skills we learn in group. For the past three weeks I have been attending my weekly group sessions which last 2 hours and 15 minutes and for the past 4-6 weeks I have been attending individual therapy sessions.

So far I have struggled to begin to open up to the new therapist but last week I feel as if I had a breakthrough as I finally opened up about some stuff that was really bothering me, it wasn’t anything major but for me it was making me feel low and I could feel myself starting yet another downward spiral as a result of it but that changed because somehow I managed to open up. While individual therapy may be going good the group sessions are a lot harder, trying to learn new skills to take the place of self-harming is hard and something which I still feel I am a bit reluctant to try but if I don’t try I'm never going to get better am I?

Throughout the past three group sessions we have been learning the skill of mindfulness, something which I have done before while I was in hospital and have avoided ever since then. But Ive been engaging with the programme , doing my homework and mindfulness has been getting easier to do and whats even more surprising is that I am beginning to do it more freely, without resistance. I'm still not its biggest fan but I guess when you practice every day you begin to like the thing you are practicing and as it gets easier I feel I will being to like it more.

To be honest this post was not due to be about how I getting on in therapy but more about the therapy itself, somewhere I got lost in what I was writing, something which seems to be happening more and more lately but anyway back to the topics, DBT.

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan and is a comprehensive cognitive behavioral treatment which was originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Similar to CBT, DBT is more intensive lasting for a number of months with two weekly sessions and a number of weekly homework assignments involved also.  Here is a brief history of the origins of DBT taken from behaviouraltech.org


“In the late 1970s, Marsha M. Linehan (1993) attempted to apply standard Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to the problems of adult women with histories of chronic suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, urges to self-harm, and self-mutilation. Trained as a behaviorist, she was interested in treating discrete behaviors; however, through consultation with colleagues, she concluded that she was treating women who met criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In the late 1970s, CBT had gained prominence as an effective psychotherapy for a range of serious problems. Linehan was keenly interested in investigating whether or not it would prove helpful for individuals whose suicidality was in response to extremely painful problems. As she and her research team applied standard CBT, they encountered numerous problems with its use. "
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