Wednesday, October 7, 2009

DBT (Yes! AGAIN!) Help? or Hinder? in healing process *Opinions please....

I had a discussion with someone about DBT this afternoon and during the discussion I mentioned that I think DBT actually triggers me MORE than the "symptoms"~ and I mentioned that I know 'others' out there who feel the same way.

So my 'discussion partner' said to me that perhaps only those who agree with my "opinion" of (let me be polite for once) Marsha Linehan and her "program to help the unhelpable" DBT ~ will tell how they feel about the program.

So...I'm posting this because I want to hear from anyone and everyone who is a survivor of CSA/CA and have an opinion (good OR bad) about DBT as well as any thoughts in general about DBT.

Please, do tell.....
I will now *distract* myself and await your responses

Half-smiling your way!
~ Grace


  1. Well, it didn't help me. It made me much worse and caused a level of decompensation that I didn't know was possible. It was completely invalidating to be instructed to store and contain things that had been so well stored and contained for years that they had begun to make me ill. When the dissociation began to fall apart, I needed to have that fully embraced and accepted by a warm and compassionate other. I needed access to the full and real truth of my past and feelings, not a new way to stuff it all back under the bed. Most people who have had a childhood like mine have been hounded and pressured all of their lives not to let their emotions show. It was invalidating and destructive for me to reach out as an adult only to find those same old demands. I think DBT is a total mind fuck. It's kind of like shoving a cork up someone's ass to stop them from having the runs. It ain't gonna work long term, and it's just not healthy.

    I suppose DBT might have some short term benefit for someone who was in some very extreme circumstances where they were violent and dangerous or something, but even in a case like that I don't think it could be a real solution and might still do some damage to that person in the longrun. Because some day the cork will come flying out the asshole, and then what? Yeah - I know - *sigh* notice it, label it and shove it back in. I think it's really unhealthy. And personally, I think Marsha is a retard.

  2. I am in a one year program for DBT. The therapy consists of a once a week three hour skills group and than a therapy session individually. I have to fill in this card to rate my moods and my urges to self harm. Every day! Than when I see my therapist I have to show her the card and we analyze my behaviour and talk about the vulnerabilities I have and triggers for me acting out. It is all about basic skills and analyzing behavior. I can't really go into the past or trauma issues, which I understand. There is this phone thing I have to do which is really a pager system, but its only to call when I need coaching on the skills it’s not like a line where I can just talk you know? I don’t feel like anyone cares how I really feel. Just that I control my behavior. I am not sure if I even really like or click with my therapist. I don't know if this type of therapy is for me.

  3. {{{{{{Aimee}}}}}}

    I care how you really feel. I care.

  4. I took DBT classes 2 years ago. I do use some things now from DBT. I think that’s because I am doing so much better now. I had to be fairly "well" to be able to use DBT in a useful or constructive way. When I was unwell... the bits of me that were broken weren’t able to benefit from any of DBT.
    I needed to fix those first before I could use DBT-style approaches. I still find them limited in their help to me.

  5. In its purest form, DBT is about "acting ones way into right thinking" not the other way around.
    You can’t “act” forever.

  6. I agree with Jennifer. You can't act forever. I really wanted DBT to work and truly, truly believed it would. Instead of helping, it created a very unstable inner environment for me and it took me years of near-insanity to figure out why. I know why now. Everytime I 'acted', everytime I 'stored' something, I was committing an act of emotional violence against the raped little girl who lives inside me and was never allowed to tell or have her real feelings about anything. DBT and CBT were a real tragedy for me and I don't think I am exaggerating at all when I tell you they nearly cost me my life.

  7. I have so much I could say on this subject that I don't even know where to begin. I'll just throw out some random stuff about my experience and hope it makes sense to you.

    Like one of the commenters above, I thought it would work and I was all for it. I had always been a big believer in all forms of CBT, positive thinking, and anything that just seemed like common sense. The problem with that is that it denied me the experience of having my real feelings, so then they started coming out at night in a dissociated form. I started waking up out of my sleep with panic attacks, I needed to vomit alot in the middle of the night, and it got to the point where I got so scared that I couldn't shake it and the only thing that helped me was disappearing from therapy so I could be true to myself without feeling like my therapist was waiting in the wings to force me to pretend (like my mother did). Frankly, DBT made me suicidal.

    Even years later, in my present therapy, any words from the DBT language are PTSD triggers for me because of all the hell I lived through after being forced to go around faking and lying like that. I got a little shaky reading this post and formulating this comment because of it. DBT traumatized me on a very deep level.

  8. I've heard a lot of great things about DBT. I have a book sitting on my nightstand on self-DBT waiting for me to pick it up. I think focusing on the positive can bring good things, as long as we don't put ourselves down in the process.
    We are precious complex beings.
    Take a step, check-in, move forward.

  9. Sparrow, if you are a survivor of extreme childhood trauma, please think long and hard before you try DBT. ESPECIALLY if you have any dissociative stuff going on. BE CAREFUL.

  10. WOW! This post came up in my google search and I'm glad I found it! I've been trying to find out if anyone else besides me has been made worse by DBT. There are a lot of praises out there, and there are also some people like me, too. The common denominator I have found for those hurt by it seems to be PTSD and childhood abuse. I guess you're not the only one and neither am I.

    You know what really makes me wonder? Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT, is very fat. Nobody who really has their act together is that fat. I wonder what kind of trauma she has hidden away from herself with her methods. I never take emotional advice from fat people. They stuff things. I think anyone who is that fat has no business telling other people how to manage their emotions. Obviously, her 'wise mind' thing goes right out the window when she's around food. It sounds like an eating disorder to me. It's too bad that she would have to stop pushing her real emotions away and storing them in boxes (fat) in order to fix it, but I have to give her credit. It was clever to hide all her stuff in fat because people are VERY reluctant to call a spade a spade. Very few in a fat nation would point the finger and call her bluff. I'm glad I got out of the DBT cult. No telling how big my rear end would be by now had I stayed. And my cholesterol? I don't even want to think about what could have happened with THAT. I decided that I'm better off being real. I guess that's why I wear a size 8 and have managed to hang on to some health.

    Good luck with the DBT debate with your friend. It has been my experience that once someone is truly sucked up into a false way of living, they are really too afraid to see what lives under all that pretending. They can't bear to take off the mask. They will keep pretending until they eventually have a nervous breakdown or find their lives imploding in some way. Once in while there are people who have the guts to stomach reality, but it doesn't happen often enough. Which is why humanity is in such sorry shape. Maybe you can look for new friends who are more emotionally healthy and have dealt with their own issues to the point where they don't need to rely on false methodologies to protect them from your pain. A friend who needs to invaldate your reality and stuff you away in a box is not your friend.

  11. Wow. I've read everyone's comments and am glad that I've not experienced it - except that I recognize a few aspects of my therapy that may have come from this way of thinking on my Ts part -- all the parts that have not worked!

    There was a time when Mr.S wanted me to think a certain way and told me that if I did that, then I would come to think it without problems. But, the problem is that I came to him in the first place because I can no longer pretend nothing happened. If he would ever bring it up to try DBT, I'd say "no" flat out.

  12. I have tried meds, CBT, DBT, art therapy, group therapy...I took in a lot of information, tried things, learned coping techniques, developed some insight. And after all was said and done, I was still as traumatized as I was before I spent all the time, money and effort on all of the above. I have been in psychodynamic therapy for 4 years and I like having the support of someone who cares adn listens and believes me. My T is great. And I would pick having a real relationship with someone who cares and validates and believes in me than any of the DBT/CBT classes. Hands down.
    Hope that helps.

  13. DBT made my anxiety snowball. I became terrified only now I could not talk about my feelings because I had to "pretend" to be okay. My flashbacks and nightmares of the original traumas I suffered escalated until I became even more phobic and a total wreck.
    DBT was continual re-traumatization for me.

  14. I started DBT a few months ago. I have to keep a daily record/rate my suicidal ideations, misery, overwhelming emotions, self harm urges, and if I have or have not used any self harm methods every day. I also have to record any skills I use to cope. I feel like my life is not my own anymore. I am just a diary card and a list of symptoms . I don’t know if it is helping me or not. But my counselor told me to always stay in the present and not get distressed. She told me I am not even supposed to talk to anyone who has been abused. It makes me feel like a freak to not have anyone that understands what I have been through. For once I would like to exist in a world where people understand how I feel instead of just reading what I write on some stupid diary card. No one asks me how I feel about anything. Just what I DO in response to a feeling and whether it is considered normal.

  15. Personally I think there is a lot of good that comes from DBT. It helps to change your thought patterns. But at the same time I believe that the issues that caused the problems in the first place need to be dealt with. And it seems like most therapists these days offer short term CBT and do not want to get into details from the past. My guess is that it has more to do with insurance companies than a true belief in the psychology profession that DBT is really "better" than talk therapy.