Five Dialectical Behaviour Therapy - Columbia University

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five Dialectical Behaviour TherapyMichaela SwalesHistorical Development of DBTDevelopment of the ApproachIn her seminal description of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), Linehan(1993) articulates her early experiences in developing the treatment. Shebegan with the application of behaviour therapy to chronically suicidalindividuals, many of whom had a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). She encountered several difficulties in these early treatmentendeavours. First, clients frequently failed to complete homework tasks;second, the primary problems presented by the client at each session fluctuated dramatically; and third, clients frequently failed to attend sessions.Linehan conceptualised these problems as a result of the extreme challenge for clients with multiple and severe difficulties in a treatment exclusively focussed on change. She hypothesised that the relentless focus onchange invalidated clients who believed they were incapable of change ordid not deserve to improve. In response, Linehan sought to incorporate afocus on acceptance into the treatment to balance the intense focus onchange. She turned to Zen philosophy and in particular mindfulness tocounterbalance behavioural theory. She adopted dialectics as a philosophical context that provides a framework for synthesising these two contrastingphilosophies. The resulting treatment, DBT, is a principle-driven treatmentthat specialises in treating high-risk behaviours, particularly suicidal andself-harm behaviours, in the context of an identified diagnostic group, mostcommonly BPD.DBT was first demonstrated as an efficacious treatment for suicidalbehaviour in the context of BPD in a treatment trial published in 1991(Linehan et al., 1991), with the treatment manuals being published shortlyafterwards (Linehan, 1993a; 1993b). During the last 20 years, trials confirming the initial promise of the treatment have been conducted byresearch groups other than Linehan’s and in countries outside the USA (seelater). Linehan developed a training programme for learning DBT: DBT05-Dryden-4278-Ch-05.indd 9325/07/2011 6:36:59 PM

94Cognitive Behaviour TherapiesIntensive Training. This is a 10-day programme consisting of two 5-weekblocks of teaching separated by 6–8 months of development work. Thefirst DBT Intensive Training course was conducted in Seattle in 1993. Thistraining programme has seeded over 500 DBT programmes in the USA(Hibbset al., 2010). DBT is also offered as a treatment in a number ofEuropean countries (Spain, Germany, Netherlands, UK) and in other partsof the English-speaking world (Australia and New Zealand).DBT in the UKThe first DBT team from the UK trained in Seattle in 1994/95. In the ensuing years a small number of teams continued to train in the USA. In 1997,the first UK Intensive Training programme ran in the UK with the supportof the Linehan Training Group, a group of specialist trainers in DBTtrained by the treatment developer. Since 1997, the British Isles DBTTraining Team, a team of UK practitioners trained both to adherence in thetreatment and as trainers in the treatment, has trained most British teams.Recent research calculated that the British training programme has seeded240 programmes (Swales et al., 2010). Treatment programmes report,despite positive experiences of treatment delivery, significant problems inimplementation of the treatment which relate primarily to lack of organisational support for specialised treatment programmes that require significant investment of practitioner time (Taylor et al., Forthcoming).Theoretical UnderpinningsMajor Theoretical ConceptsDBT rests on three core theoretical pillars: behaviourism, Zen and dialectics. At its core, DBT is a behavioural treatment. Behaviourism influencesthe principles and practices of the treatment in several ways. DBTembraces a radical behaviourist philosophy in that anything an organismdoes – thinking, sensing, emoting, acting – constitutes behaviour.Conceptualising in this way, for example, transforms th

Jul 05, 2014 · DBT rests on three core theoretical pillars: behaviourism, Zen and dialec-tics. At its core, DBT is a behavioural treatment. Behaviourism influences the principles and practices of the treatment in several ways. DBT embraces a rad

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