I don’t usually post links to other articles here. That’s generally not my style. And judging from the content of this one, it’s probably going to get posted many other places.
I just have to share some of my reactions somewhere.
Here is the article
You may need to make a free NYT account to be able to read it.
tldr version: Marsha Linehan reveals her personal history of self-injury
DBT was not helpful for me. With other therapy types that have not helped I never really felt anger towards the big names that created it. I don’t have strong feelings towards Aaron Beck as a person even though there are some complex emotions going on for me about CBT. Things have been different with Linehan though.
Her name has been all over my experience of the therapy. When I was in DBT I worked in her workbook, which I pursed a copy of. In hospitals when DBT was shoved down my throat I used xeroxes of the same workbook.
After I quit DBT my (non DBT) therapist pressured me to take home DVDs of Linehan’s to watch. If I refused to continue the DBT therapy, she thought maybe the DVDs would help. They just made me angrier. I have pages of typed notes picking apart every detail of those DVDs. Some of them were obnoxious and irrelevant such as my criticisms of the lighting quality. Mostly I just felt that Linehan just didn’t get it. Combined with later viewings of youtube clips of her and videos of her I saw in school, I’ve developed a view of her as cold, mean and out of touch. The cultish language of DBT did nothing either to endear her towards me either. That she could possibly have a personal history of these problems was not something that ever would have occurred to me.
A lot of my anger towards this therapy, that was repeatedly forced upon me, became directed at her. She created this overhyped therapy that no one will believe is ineffective for me.
This article really turns a lot of my feelings upsidedown. I guess she’s not quite as out of touch as I thought. Some of these comments she made that seemed cruel make me think more now that she’s using humor as a way to deal with some fo these things.
I am not going to become a hardcore DBT advocate, but it does make me feel its worth a little more examination. Not so much as a treatment for myself (I’ve long ago ruled out the possibility of it being effective for me and strongly believe anyone who treats any therapy as a panacea is delusional), but in terms of general professional knowledge it could be useful. I still have theoretical objections and think DBT is backwards (behaviors should not be the first issue address with in a therapy, IMHO), but this gives it a little more credibility.
This news is certainly going to take over my therapy session today.
I’m still processing my thoughts about this. I don’t usually like to post here without digesting thoughts more, but I wanted to share while it was still fresh news. Feel free to add your thoughts on the matter.
I walked into therapy and said “Hey, did you read the NYT today?”
S.M. replied “I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I bet you want to talk about the Linehan article”
He’s got me figured out.
Edit Aug 14, 2018: I see I was linked on metafilter and am getting a lot of traffic from there. Be sure to see my newer post on this topic https://psychologytales.com/2016/10/08/updated-thoughts-on-dbt/