3 Interesting Facts About the Creator of DBT

The Creator of DBT, Marsha Linehan, drew directly from her own experiences in creating this unique therapeutic approach

Dialectical Behavior Therapy has helped millions since it was introduced to the mental health community. It’s only been around since the late 1980s, but DBT has already become a staple treatment for many different disorders. DBT is now the go-to psychotherapy treatment for everything from borderline personality disorder to eating disorders.

While DBT treatment has become popular, not many people know much about its creator, Marsha M. Linehan. Here are a few interesting facts about the creator of DBT that you may not know.

 

The creator of DBT was diagnosed with mental illness

You may take comfort in knowing that the creator of DBT had a mental illness as well. Linehan was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was younger, and even institutionalized. While institutionalized, Marsh Linehan was subjected to seclusion, electroconvulsive therapy, and medicated wi thorazine, all common treatments at that time.

However, since then Linehan has stated that she was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, and that her actual diagnosis was borderline personality disorder. She hasn’t taken psychotropic medications since leaving the institution at 18. Her early diagnosis and treatments were a driving force behind her becoming the creator of DBT.

 

She’s a long-time Roman Catholic

Linehan is a long-time Roman Catholic, and has credited her religion for helping her through her mental illness. She attended Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit university, where she earned her B.S. in Psychology. Linehan continues to go church, and practices meditation taught by Roman Catholic priests. Her positive experience with meditation is what influenced her to focus on mindfulness in the creation of DBT.

In 1967, while praying in a small Catholic chapel, Linehan said, “One night I was kneeling in there, looking up at the cross, and the whole place became gold – and suddenly I felt something coming toward me… It was this shimmering experience, and I just ran back to my room and said, ‘I love myself.’ It was the first time I remembered talking to myself in the first person. I felt transformed”

 

She developed DBT based on CBT and her own experiences

DBT is actually a modified form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Linehan developed DBT based on her psychology education and her own experience with mental illness.

Linehan noticed that patients would often get “burnt out” and were “non-motivated”. She also observed that patients with mental illness, especially suicidal individuals, were raised in profoundly invalidating environments. This led her to focus DBT on creating a therapeutic alliance between the patient and therapist. DBT validates all of a patients’ feelings, while also helping them realize that some feeling and behaviors aren’t beneficial to them, and teaches them better alternatives.

Want to learn more about Dialectical Behavior Therapy or think it may be a good treatment for you? Contact us today!

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Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.