Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Comments by CalliL

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  • I did a year long Linehan certified DBT program 6 years ago when I was 17, and have very mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, when performed correctly, DBT does what it’s advertised to do which is that it reduces self-harm, suicide attempts and ER visits. I did not attempt suicide for four years after I completed the program and I only self-harmed 3 times within that same period. However, my quality of life was not significantly improved and I was still having suicidal thoughts. It made me feel hopeless that the one therapy that was supposed to help me didn’t completely work. It wasn’t until I started working with a psychology grad student at my college that I realized that the reason I still felt miserable was because I hadn’t addressed my childhood trauma.

    DBT is essentially a band aid treatment. You can keep using skills every time you are in a crisis, but until you get to the source of the problem, which for many people is trauma, you are just doing damage control. Another issue that I had with DBT is that my individual therapist was rigid and inflexible. She made it seem like I wasn’t even allowed to cry without using a DBT skill to calm down, and I can’t even count the amount of times she hung up on me during phone coaching. I understand that therapists need to set boundaries but she made me feel like I had the plague and needed to keep as much distance from me as possible. It’s also frustrating that even after you complete a DBT program, regular therapists still won’t accept you as a client if you have a diagnosis of BPD.

    I am so sorry that all of you had such horrible experiences with DBT. While my DBT experience wasn’t horrible I did experience a lot of the same problematic treatment in residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools. Everyone deserves compassionate and empathetic care, and not to be degraded and treated as something that needs to be controlled. I’m sorry this comment is so long, I have been thinking about this issue for years and stumbled across this article that literally describes all the thoughts I’ve been having, so I got kind of carried away.