Tom Lynch explains why RO DBT was developed.
Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment for patients who suffer from emotional over-control.
RO DBT has been developed over the past 20 years for patients with chronic depression or anorexia nervosa. Research results suggest that it is effective in these, and other, hard-to-treat groups.
Listen to a PodCast from CBTRadio about RO-DBT here: Prof Lynch about RO-DBT - PodCast 5th of October 2015
Emotional over control
‘Self-control’ is thought desirable, and uncontrolled behaviour is often censured. However too-much self-control is a problem for many patients. Excessive self-control is associated with social isolation, poor interpersonal relations, and contributes to difficult-to-treat conditions including anorexia nervosa and chronic depression (see Lynch & Cheavens, 2008; Riso et al., 2003; Zucker et al., 2007).
A new treatment
RO DBT offers a fundamentally different way to treat patients with overcontrol. The treatment starts by observing three core components of emotional well-being:
- Openness to feedback, even when this is challenging.
- Flexibility in our responses to changing environmental demands, and
- Communication of our emotions, with a recognition that expressing emotion is crucial when forming close interpersonal bonds.
Some patients lack emotional control and need interventions designed to enhance constraint or inhibitory control; others require interventions designed to relax rigid or inflexible inhibitory control.
Treatment strategies aim to build:
- Acknowledgment and awareness of feedback that is unexpected or challenging.
- Self enquiry into habitual responses to challenging feedback and our urges to regulate emotional responses to feedback (for example to defend, capitualte, avoid, or accept).
- Flexible responding to the demands of the moment, with great emphasis on the importance of emotional expression to facilitate positive interpersonal relationships.
A growing evidence base
RO DBT is now practised in the UK, Europe, and North America, and is increasingly recognised as effective for patients who exhibit emotional over-control.
The RO DBT and radical-openness research website has more information on the latest research and development of the treatment, and the growing evidence base for RO DBT in patients with chronic depression and anorexia nervosa.