Radically Open DBT

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) is a new evidence-based treatment for a wide range of disorders characterized by excessive self-control, also referred to as overcontrol (OC). These disorders include “overcontrolled” personality styles (avoidant, obsessive compulsive, paranoid and schizoid), treatment-resistant anxiety and depression, and high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s).

RO-DBT is similar to DBT in that it uses behavioral principles and a dialectical philosophy as the framework for treatment. The delivery of treatment is also similar in that it involves weekly individual therapy and skills training classes. Otherwise, the two treatments differ dramatically in the emphasis of treatment, skills taught, and the role of the therapeutic relationship.

RO-DBT addresses the core problems of social signaling deficits, aloofness, and low openness that have severely and negatively impacted an individual’s social, occupational, and personal relationships. An emphasis is placed on the how nonverbal behavior impacts forming connections with one another. Within the therapeutic relationship, the therapist models vulnerability and connectedness to teach an individual how to increase openness, adaptively respond, be vulnerable and establish a sense of belongingness in the world. In doing so, the individual learns new skills to connect with others and help regulate neurophysiological arousal.

Treatment involves individual therapy and skills training classes centered around five overcontrol themes: inhibited and disingenuous emotional expression, hyper-detailed focused and overly cautious behavior, rigid and rule-governed behavior, aloof and distant style of relating, and high social comparison and envy/bitterness. Mindfulness practices are included in treatment to emphasize self-enquiry and encourage our minds to become more flexible and less rigid in our way of thinking and communicating with others. The goal of treatment is radical openness, or to actively engage in things we want to avoid in order to learn by changing our perception of our reality and embracing humility.

More information can be found at www.radicallyopen.net