Radically Open DBT: For those of us who are over-controlled

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment for patients who suffer from emotional overcontrol. RO DBT has been developed over the past 20 years for people with chronic depression or anorexia nervosa. Research results suggest that it is effective in these, and other, hard-to-treat groups.

What is emotional overcontrol?

While high self-control is generally thought to be a good thing, too much self-control can be a problem for some people. Excessive self-control is associated with social isolation, interpersonal problems, and appears to be an important contributor to conditions like anorexia nervosa and chronic depression. While some people lack of emotional control and need help learning how to be less impulsive or emotionally-driven, people who are overly controlled need help with learning how to relax overly rigid and inflexible control over their emotions and emotion expression.

What do you learn in RO DBT?

RODBT involves taking a skills class and also individual therapy. RO DBT focuses on learning three core principles:

  1. Openness to feedback, even when challenging.
  2. Flexibility in responding to challenges in our environment (including other’s behavior).
  3. Effective communication of our emotions, recognizing that emotion expression is central to forming strong relationships.

In individual therapy sessions, the RO DBT therapist helps the client to learn how to apply the skills learned in the skills classes to their unique situation.

What is radical openness?
RO DBT aims to develop radical openness, which has three components:

  1. Acknowledging experiences that are disconfirming or unexpected (which are often distressing), rather than automatically explaining, defending, accepting, regulating, distracting, or denying what is happening in order to feel better.
  2. Self-inquiry, which involves asking oneself good questions in order to learn. This involves intentionally seeking ones’ personal unknown in order to learn from a constantly changing environment.
  3. Responding flexibly by doing what is effective in the moment, in a manner that considers the needs of others.

How is the skills class structured?

The class uses a traditional classroom format. Everyone who attends sits around a table. The facilitators begin each class with a brief exercise, followed by homework review, the introduction of new material, and homework assignments. It should feel familiar as the format is like other classroom settings. We aim to create a welcoming, warm, and fun environment for learning.

To learn more about emotional overcontrol and whether RO DBT might be relevant for you or a loved one, you can watch the video below.

RO DBT at Portland Psychotherapy

Come explore how to put joy back in your life.  Learn concrete skills to loosen up your temperament (the way you are wired) so it works for you and not against you. Come hear about cutting edge research on effective skills to change your old patterns and habits, learn how to enhance intimacy and reduce very private experience of self-loathing or criticism. These skills are particularly helpful with perfectionism, over-work, and restrictive eating disordered behaviors.

Our Skills classes:

Our therapists who are trained in RO DBT:

What Makes Us Unique

Portland Psychotherapy is a clinic, research & training center with a unique business model that funds scientific research. This results in a team of therapists who are exceptionally well-trained and knowledgeable about their areas of specialty.