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An overview of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

An overview of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

I am a strong believer in DBT and use this therapeutic modality quite often. It is certainly less known than Cognitive or Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, so in this article I will take you on the grand tour of DBT. It is quite unusual how DBT came about. Let’s begin there.

Marsha M. Linehan and DBT

Born in Oklahoma than 70 years ago, Marsha lived what must have been a confusing and maybe even a terrifying childhood. Early on she began displaying significant behavioral abnormalities. So much so that eventually her parents hospitalized her in Connecticut for evaluation and treatment.

Indications at the hospital pointed toward her having schizophrenia. While an inpatient Marsha underwent treatments that included ECT, Librium, Thorazine, seclusion, along with other treatments. This was her youth until her discharge at 18.

After discharge Marsha pursued advanced education at Loyola University, earning a Master’s degree in psychology and graduating cum laude. Moving on, she then earned a PhD is psychology. This led to her ongoing work in the area of suicide and related destructive behaviors. As her interest and knowledge grew, she became a researcher and professor of psychology. In later years she reminisced about her diagnosis and feels that she had a Borderline Personality Disorder.

Today, she is an internationally known author, teacher and researcher in the field of psychology. Masha M. Linehan, PhD plays a key leadership role in the psychology and psychiatry departments of the University of Washington. She is best known for her clinical and theoretical development of DBT.