The ACAMH Ireland Branch recently held a Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) Conference in Dublin. The event heard from nationally acclaimed speakers, Stephanie Hastings and Jim Lyng, who are leaders in the field of DBT. Stephanie and Jim used their experience and expertise to deliver an interesting and engaging day, we were honoured to have them there.
Dr. Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has established itself as a significant new voice in the field of psychotherapy. Identified in 2011 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 greatest recent scientific discoveries, DBT blends radical behaviourism and cognitive therapy with the philosophies and practices of Zen and dialectics.
A comprehensive integrative treatment, standard Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is delivered through a dynamic combination of individual psychotherapy, group skills training, telephone coaching, environmental intervention, and clinician support. To date 14 randomised controlled trials and two Cochrane reviews have established Dialectical Behaviour Therapy as an evidence-based treatment for borderline personality disorder, reducing out-of-control behaviours such a deliberate self-harm and suicidal actions.
DBT is increasingly viewed as a broader treatment for problems associated with emotional dysregulation, a problem implicated in between 40 and 70% of mental health disorders. Adaptations of DBT have been used to treat eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, addictions, family members of troubled teens, ADHD, and general psychiatric difficulties.
DBT has been used with adolescents, adults, and older adults in settings ranging from inpatient environments, forensic settings, and student counselling services, to community mental health centres and assertive outreach programmes. Many of these adaptations emphasise teaching clients the behavioural skills which forms the spine of DBT, with its synthesis of acceptance and change focused skills broken into four distinct modules: core mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.
What delegates gained from the Conference:
- The evidence base for DBT for adolescents
- Structuring DBT treatment
- An introduction to DBT skills
Jim is an adjunct assistant professor with the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the School of Psychology. He is also a trainer with British Isles DBT Training with whom he has delivered Linehan Institute accredited training in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and mainland Europe. He has published research on DBT in community settings and has a special interest in DBT for young adults and sits on the Board of Accreditation for the British and Irish Society of DBT. Jim has worked with Cluain Mhuire community mental health services, where he leads Ireland’s longest running DBT team, since 2004.
Stephanie is a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and trainer with the British Isles DBT training team. She has 25 years clinical experience working in Social Services, the voluntary sector and the NHS. Stephanie qualified as a Social Worker in 1992 and later trained in CBT and DBT; she is now an accredited practitioner, trainer and supervisor with the BABCP and is also an accredited DBT therapist. Stephanie currently works in a tier 3 CAMHS team in North Wales providing both CBT and DBT, and supervising colleagues. She is also a CBT lecturer at Bangor University teaching health colleagues. Stephanie has been a research therapist on a trial of DBT for treatment resistant depression and is undertaking her PhD studies focusing on adapting DBT skills for adolescents with ASD in school settings.