Dialectics and Our Path out of our Current Craziness

MML[2]Marsha Linehan, PhD from the University of Washington, has provided the nearly impossible.  She has led the way in treating patients with a very disabling disorder known as Borderline Personality Disorder.  Dr. Linehan, though she might deny it, is a committed Zen Budhist.  Dealing with the difficult balances that impinge upon us all daily,  is the very  foundation of her expertise.  Those imbalances are especially difficult for her patients, but I, and others contend, the same is true for most of the rest of us.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, aka DBT, was developed in the late 1970’s by Dr. Linehan and colleagues when they discovered that cognitive behavioral therapy alone did not work as well as expected in patients with borderline personality disorder.  Dr. Linehan and her team added additional techniques and developed a treatment which would meet the unique needs of these patients.

DBT was developed to help people who have trouble in the realms of “thinking, relationships, emotions, and coping” – sounds like most of us, no?

A core component of DBT is “mindfulness” – gaining control of your mind, rather than letting it control you.”

Another component is “interpersonal effectiveness” – which involves, a) getting your objectives met in a situation, b)get/keep good relationships, c) keep/improve self respect and liking of one’s self.

A third component is “emotion regulation” which involves 1) understanding emotions one experiences, 2) reducing emotional vulnerability, and 3) decreasing emotional suffering.

In case I was not clear, I have always thought that these skills could be used by most of us, me included.

What do you bloggers think?

iggy donnelly


Filed under Celebration, Diversity, Life Lessons, New Technology, Psychological Disorders, Psychology Ramblings..., Uncategorized, Universal Healthcre, Woman Power

25 responses to “Dialectics and Our Path out of our Current Craziness

  1. I failed to expand that I think the DBT approach could help us get out of our current political dysfunction. We can deal with the dialectics of our political “freeze”.

    • wicked

      BPD was the subject of the book and subsequent movie Girl Interrupted, so I have a small clue what you’re writing about, iggy. I did a bit of research on it, thinking I’d use it for a character (an off stage character, meaning he/she never appeared in the book, but was part of another character’s life), and it was fascinating.

      To answer your question, yes, we could all probably use some DBT. Sometimes I think we all have some kind of “personality disorder”. 🙂

      Now a question for you. Does DBT involve anything similar to yoga or meditation to search for those points you mentioned?

      Is there really “normal” behavior?

      • It helps people learn to relax, etc. I heard her speak about 3 different times and there is a “Zen walk” that she had her patients try. She is real empirical and she could not find that the walk improved anything, so she dropped it.

    • I think I follow you on this one.

      The times I’ve dealt with situations generated by people who I felt could be BPD, it seemed that the person was not in control of their emotions or their reaction to them.

      In the current situation…gaining control of the mind by fact checking; better progress toward compromise by establishing discussion rather than shoutdowns; understand the emotions caused by a lack of (or questionable)information and combat it by reading all perspectives openly?

  2. Absolutely! It is imperative to find an essence of calm in order to make it through life. And we have to recognize that we’re over reacting, becoming anxious, sinking into a depressed state — and stop whatever it is we’re doing to help get ourselves back on an even keel. Because whatever we attempt from a place that isn’t calm won’t include our best efforts or our best outcomes.

    The techniques for calm must be found by each individual. Do you need to be active — scrub a toilet, take a jog? Or, is meditation your path to calm? Is it a long talk, reading, yoga? I think that path is as different as each of us is. And the key is recognizing — first our state of being and then the need for the path to calm that is our own unique way of getting there.

    • wicked

      I’m still hunting for that calm. LOL I’ve discovered music can make a difference in my state of mind. Different music goes with the need for a different mood. I downloaded a highly recommended meditation album and played it in the midst of the recent asthma attacks. It helped.

      Some might look at me and my lifestyle and say I’m lazy. Well, I am, to some extent, but my mind never stops. Never. I often wonder if most people are like that, with thoughts constantly running through their minds. Trying to rid my mind of thoughts takes a lot of effort, but I’ve learned it can be done.

  3. Oh, and with me at least it isn’t even as simple as that! I’ve gotten better at recognizing my need to stop and find a calm place. But, guess what? Sometimes the path to calm is different from day to day. Some days I truly need to get active, get something tangible accomplished; other days what I need is quiet meditation. Other times I need to be with people!

  4. DBT is effective with groups other than Borderlines. It has been shown to be very effective with people who have substance use disorders and eating disorders.

    The therapy is very difficult to do, but if patients make a good faith effort, it is nearly miraculous, in my humble opinion.

  5. annie moose

    If you want to fix the system take the special interests and lobbyists out of the equation.

    Since Al Gore was kind enough to invent the internets and we have THE GOOGLE. All registered voters should have the opportunity to read and vote on all bills and legislation. Majority wins, give the people what they want.

  6. Bad Biker

    My (thankfully) ex-fiancee was a Borderline Personality. At first, all was good, but after a year or so, things began to change.

    First, she always had to be right. Then, her kids had to be right. Then my kids had to be wrong. Then I had to be wrong. Then my family was wrong, including my Grandpa.

    Then I wasn’t doing sex right. She complained that I was initiating a common male on female foreplay technique way too soon.

    (BTW: She was the only woman in my life that EVER complained about the sexual activity.)

    Then I caught her lying about her whereabouts, after her own daughter tipped me off.

    And that was MY fault that she lied.

    And that was the end…………………. a few months later, she made overtures about getting back together, but I shut that down with the first hint.

    Borderline Personalities are a bitch when it comes to a personal relationship.

  7. “Borderline Personalities are a bitch when it comes to a personal relationship.”

    Yes. But, with hard work they can change.

    The same could be said for those who have to deal with them…

  8. wicked

    iggy, where’s a good place to learn about Bordline Personalities? Someplace easy, like on the ‘net…

  9. NIMH is a good place:


    Can’t beat Wiki, too. I am limited on the number of links I can provide, so will skip that one.

    This place is interesting and is devoted to people who care about someone with BPD:


    An excellent book for people involved with someone with BPD is called _Stop Walking on Eggshells_ – I have a copy for loan if that would be helpful in your research.

    As an interesting aside: In England they are of the opinion that BPD is dimensionally related to Bipolar Disorder. That is, it is a milder form of Bipolar. I have often thought, one could make a reasonable argument for that position.

  10. wicked

    Thanks, iggy! I’ll take a look at your links and suggestions. I can’t remember where on the ‘net I was looking before.

    Bipolar and others came to my mind when I read your post. My grandson is ADHD/ODD and possibly personality disorder they aren’t giving a name to, mostly because of the stigma attached that will stay with him for life. I took him to his psych appt last Thursday and was asked about family history. Mine is sketchy because I’m adopted, but I do know that of the 14 siblings in my birthmother’s family, 8 have had “breakdowns.” (Not my term.) The brother I talked to is bipolar. Of my own 4 kids, all have had been on some kind of meds or treated for depression. Me? I’m just nuts. 🙂

    Anyway, I think you’ve given me something to think on and perhaps use. Thank you!

  11. wicked

    Just try typing with a 2-year-old climbing on your lap. Sheesh!

  12. Bipolar Disorder was the very first one that they noted tended to run in families. Twin and adoption studies suggest there is a genetic component. The Hemingway family had several generations with people who likely had bipolar disorder.

    Bipolar people are frequently artisitically gifted, too – see Hemingway example.

  13. It is irresponsible, at least, to diagnose a child with a personality disorder. The idea is that their personality is still developing.

    I have heard child psychiatrists say they could predict what personality disorder a child will later have. I am dubious about that claim, too.

    • lilacluvr

      Just like when any Christian psychiatrist claims they can ‘cure’ a homosexual.

      I don’t believe that either and I think it is more than irresponsible, it is downright immoral.

      But there are alot of bad apples in every profession. – IMHO

    • wicked

      Which is probably why they didn’t officially diagnose my grandson. It’s a “possible” personality disorder. I may have forgotten to mention that. It’s been a bit crazy, what with the new granddaughter in the hospital in KC. But little Payton is doing well (knock on wood) and may get to come home soon to grow a little more before the surgery. We’re waiting today to hear on the echocardiogram to see if the blood flow, after allowing the duct to natuarally close, is good or if they’ll have to put in a shunt/stint. My head is spinning with medical terms, and even the nurses used different terms.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        I hope all continues to go well for Payton. It sounds to me as if the nurses aren’t clear as to what procedure might be used, unless shunt and stint have now become synonyms (entirely possible given my lack of familiarity with things medical these days).