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