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The concept of dialectics means that an experience can be both helpful and unhelpful, or two different points of view can both have elements of “truth”. Especially if the two people are in a discussion and both are trying to establish who is right.So, for example, self-harm can be both helpful in that it brings a person immediate relief and is a way of coping with pain, and it can also be unhelpful in that it brings with it a variety of undesired consequences, including increased scrutiny, a sense of being unable to cope, shame and scars. It can lead to conflict, things could get heated, and one or the other person may end up feeling unheard, invalidated, angry, dejected and so on. Where it gets really interesting and indeed helpful is when people apply these ideas to themselves.Often people find Dialectical Behaviour Therapy after struggling to cope for quite some time. These can include using self-harm, alcohol, drugs, or chronic avoidance to cope, damaged relationships or experiencing life as a series of letdowns. If you identify with these types of problems then DBT may be able to help you. Through DBT many people have learned to make sense of their feelings, manage them more effectively, and live fuller, richer lives.
At present researchers are trying to work out which bits of DBT make it work and who is it most effective for.
In Australia and around the world there are both comprehensive DBT programmes and programmes that have incorporated some of the principles of DBT into their treatment.
Similarly, there are clinicians who have extensive, formal training in DBT, and those who incorporate some ideas from DBT in their work.
This also means that a family member may want someone to stop self harming because it is not good for them, and the person may want to continue because they find it helps. What if the people agreed, however, that they were both right and both wrong, and worked to find a common place that allowed for difference and at the same time allowed them to move forward effectively? How often do people try to work out whether they are right wrong, good or bad, smart of dumb, and so on.
Applying a dialectical approach means letting go of this kind of stuff, accepting there may be truth in both views, letting go of the struggles these types of dilemmas cause, and trying to find a view that allows you to be effective in finding a way forward.
The research indicates that therapists with extensive formal training in DBT achieve better outcomes for their clients, and that people who engage in one-on-one DBT therapy while also attending a DBT group get better outcomes.