Treatment of Chronic Depression Using RO-DBT

 

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) is a new treatment specifically designed for people with chronic and treatment resistant depression.

RO-DBT was developed over the past 20 years by a team of researchers and therapists led by Dr. Thomas Lynch. The treatment pulls together experimental, longitudinal, and treatment outcome research to create this novel treatment. Research results suggest that it is effective in treating chronic depression and other hard-to-treat conditions.

How does RO-DBT work?

A counterintuitive idea behind the therapy is that it’s possible to have too much self-control. Self-control refers to our ability to restrain acting on our urges, emotions, and wants in favor of longer term goals. Most of the time, self-control is good, but some people can suffer from excessive self-control. For these people, inhibiting and controlling impulses and emotions has become so habitual and automatic that they have problem relaxing control when needed. This can result in overcontrolled people being overly inhibited, perfectionistic, cautious, and feeling exhausted by social interactions.

What do you learn in RO-DBT?

RO-DBT typically unfolds over 30 weeks using a combination of skills classes and individual psychotherapy. Treatment focuses on learning three core principles:

  1. Openness to feedback from our environment and the people in it, in the service of new learning
  2. Flexibility in responding to challenges in our environment (including other’s behavior).
  3. Effective communication of our emotions, recognizing that emotion expression is central to forming strong relationships.

Individual therapy focuses on helping clients adapt the skills learned in classes to their unique life situation.

What is radical openness?
RO-DBT aims to develop radical openness, which has three components:

  1. Acknowledging experiences that are disconfirming or unexpected (which are often distressing), rather than automatically explaining, defending, accepting, regulating, distracting, or denying what is happening in order to feel better.
  2. Self-inquiry, which involves asking oneself good questions in order to learn. This involves intentionally seeking ones’ personal unknown in order to learn from a constantly changing environment.
  3. Responding flexibly by doing what is effective in the moment, in a manner that considers the needs of others.

How is the skills class structured?

The class uses a traditional classroom format. Everyone who attends sits around a table. The facilitators begin each class with a brief exercise, followed review of homework, new skills are introduced, and homework is assigned. Classes are engaging, fairly fast paced, and often quite fun. We aim to create a welcoming, warm, and interesting environment for learning.

If you want to learn more about RO-DBT or see if we are an option for the treatment for chronic depression, give us a call at: 503-281-4852 x1

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