Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our 100th Post!

Congratulations to all those who posted, i.e. Jeff and I. Maybe we can recruit some more people to join in! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An Illustration of DBT

Linehan, M.M. (1998). An Illustration of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. In Session: Psychotherapy in Practice, 4, 2, 21-44.

In addition to providing illustrative transcripts from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) sessions, the bulk of the read, this paper also summarizes DBT's theoretical perspective, its various treatment stages and targets, as well as treatment strategies. DBT was developed to treat clients meeting criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD) whose behavioral patterns are commonly problematic and stressful for clients and therapists alike, not the least of which is suicidality. DBT theorizes that BPD individuals lack interpersonal, self-regulation, and distress-tolerance skills, and what skills they do possess are often undermined by behaviors which block the use of the capabilities the client does have. As such, outcomes are typically unpredictable, even for patients who resist the tempting urge to quit and remain in treatment.

DBT recommends splitting up therapy into different stages, each with unique goals. In Stage I, treatment tries to achieve self-control, with control over one's suicidal behaviors being most important. In Stage II, clients try to experience emotions without resistance and to form and maintain connections to people, places, and activities, even if they are somehow associated with past trauma. Stage III focuses on reducing residual problematic patterns that interfere with clients achieving other important goals. When successful, Stage IV achieves a lasting sense of completeness and the capacity for sustained joy.

DBT's treatment strategies include: (1) dialectical strategies which combine acceptance with change, synthesize opposites, and move the client from "either-or" thinking to "both-and" thinking; (2) core strategies of client validation and problem-solving; (3) communication strategies which balance warm responsiveness to the client's wishes with irreverence; and (4) case management strategies which help the therapist tackle the difficult problems of suicidality with team support and aim to ultimately teach the client how to effectively interact with their world, rather than teaching the environment how to interact with them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Functional analytic psychotherapy

Kohlenberg, R.J. & Tsai, Mavis. Functional analytic psychotherapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 4, 175-201.

Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) is a radical behaviorist approach to psychotherapy. As such, it views everything we do as behavior and believes these behaviors are the result of contingencies of reinforcement we have experienced in past relationships. The therapy emphasizes the importance of the client-therapist relationship since it creates a functionally similar environment [to the "real world"] which can evoke problematic behavior (deemed CRB1's) that can then be observed and responded to with reinforcement, shaping, and interpretations. Improvements witnessed in-session (deemed CRB2's) can be praised and reinforced immediately, and the clinician's reinforcement can be assessed for effectiveness. Further, its emphasis on contextualism leads therapists to develop a comprehensive understanding of the meaning of a client's behaviors and forces practitioners to remain open-minded about an intervention's potential effectiveness given the context. As such, FAP commonly embraces and enhances concepts and techniques from different therapies, such as psychoanalysis and cognitive therapy. Practitioners of FAP are encouraged to tailor their use of therapeutic techniques depending on: what will evoke the client's problems in the session, whether the client's problems are rule-governed or contingency-shaped, and what will be naturally reinforcing of the client's target behaviors.