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Refuge from Emotional Storms

It can be difficult to keep track of all the various forms of psychological help that are out there.  Each year seems to bring a new wrinkle, and reliable scientific validation is often hard to come by (and approaches backed by tightly designed studies often seem less amazing in real-life practice).  One approach that is pretty well accepted among mental health professionals and that also gets good reviews from patients/clients is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  At this point, it’s been around for over 30 years and is certainly no longer a fad – but it’s harder work (for both therapist and patient) than many therapies and not so widely available.  Drawing upon elements of behavioral treatment as well as Buddhist-tinged concepts such as “radical acceptance,”  DBT can be conceptualized as a collection of learnable coping skills that are particularly useful for individuals who have a tumultuous emotional life.  People whose lives seem to be full of such “drama” are typically not choosing to make life difficult; their outer expression reflects their inner reality.  DBT accepts that and sets about building compensatory skills.  For an example of a case that might be applicable, see our column on page 3  of the March issue of MBA Lawyers Journal.

Jeff Fortgang, PhD

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