Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Book Review: Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy
This is not an easy read, but it is worth it for all mental health workers.
DBT = a type of therapy designed for those people who are constantly in crisis. I'm talking about people who harm themselves on purpose: cutting themselves with razorblades to release tension, repeatedly attempting suicide, etc. These are often people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. Their life is a living hell, and usually it has become the same for their family and friends.
This book teaches a type of therapy that actually helps them.
I learned quickly through this book that DBT is not something you do on the side. You are either a full blown DBT therapist, or you are not. There is no halfway. There is no dabbling.
Why do I appreciate this book? Because it helps me be a better psychiatrist to all my patients. I currently work on a DBT unit for kids who are so dysfunctional their families have sent them to live in a psych hospital for 3-9 months. Many of them threaten to commit suicide every day, some try. Many cut, all are difficult, all are taxing, and all are capable of recovering and are trying as hard as they can to get better.
This book did not make me a DBT therapist, but it showed me what my patients are learning, how they're being taught, what skills they are learning, and how I can help them too.
I learned to always question my assumptions, my diagnosis, and my treatment. I learned to ask for help more often. I also learned not to give up. I'll get frustrated, angry, sad, and upset. I'll be cussed out, threatened, and sometimes hit... and I always have to remember that it's even worse for my patients. They live it all day every day. I get to go home at night.
Thank you Dr. Koerner. Your book reflects your caring and dedication to a population that many would prefer to forget about.