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ok, so i guess my question is: has anyone had success sort of going through the motions of dbt therapy just using the workbook and no real therapy? (I know that question probably came out really stupid... oh well..)

the deal it that my psychiatrist (and I for that matter) know that, along with my meds, am in desperate need of dbt to deal with the borderline personality disorder portion of my lovely diagnosis. most programs run for a good number of months (a friend of mine is in a 6 month program).  He wants me to do it, but i can't b/c i go away to school.  I cannot take a semester (with the possibility of even 2 semesters) off for this.  I have so many reasons why I cant... a few of them have to do with my parents.  There is no chance in hell that they would consider letting me do it b/c they would not approve, under any circumstances, taking time off from school.  Even if they knew the severity of the situation and for some odd reason agreed to it, i would have to live with them and be reminded and guilted everyday by them.  that's just a few reasons why i really cant do it now...

but what am i supposed to do.  my doc seems like he wants me tell them, but i really cant.  they can barely take the fact that i am on meds, let alone this... i already get to deal with the guilt...(don't underestimate  the power of jewish guilt!).

I am just at a loss of what o do.  I have the workbook, but what good is it truly going to do for me?  this is just so frustrating because I just dont know.  there is really nothing by me at school if we thought of that as an option (I go to school in upstate west bumfuck....ugh.

Im sorry, im just bitching and a little out of it so sorry that you had to read this....

maybe i will be able to explain the situation better later.

any input/experiences at all would be great...anything anyone has to say!



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Dear Ophelia,

I am in individual DBT therapy. I find it a little hard to apply the skills, or keep up with the diary card with a tdoc to "answer" to, I don't know if I would have the discipline to do it completely on my own.

So I think it's a big endeavor to do your own DBT. I have the workbook too. I'm not the dullest knife in the drawer, and I don't find the book that user friendly.

But if you find a therapist in your area who is trained in DBT you could get a very good start even over the summer. I first started this in late February. I at least got the gist of it fairly quickly.

As the taxi cabs say "It can't hurt, it could help."

Take care, I'll PM you later.


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Guest PinkToo2grrl


I found a web site about "do-it-yourself" DBT.  I think that if your psychaitrist is willing to contribute, between the web site, and the Dr. and you, that you can make it fly enough to be helpful.  I went through DBT in a group, but I think you could do it one on one and still have it help.  It may not be as ideal as the group setting, especially because group offers you an opportunity to practice skills, but I think it could make an improvement. 


The Skills are simply skills, and if you learn them, they can help your life, so I am not really sure if it matters how you learn them, as long as you do.  Please feel free to PM me about questions you have.  I may be a little rusty, but I did the program, and I might be able to help.



they have a DBT skills group mailing list for support

Good luck, DBT saved my life, I truly believe!

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i was struck by your post, because it reminded me of how i was before i got "better". and when i say better, i mean that i still think like a depressed, anorexic borderline, but now i manage it very well, and do all the right things like take my drugs, exercise, eat regularly (not happily, though), i take time off when i need it and pre-empt major episodes when i see them coming. i still get sick, but not in the same car-crash, taking myself and everyone else down way. the bo nus is that now i get to finish my degree, have a dog, have a (minor) social life.

it sounds like even if you did take a year off, work at dbt, your heart's not really in it. i got the idea that you knew dbt would be good for you, that you knew you would benefit from it, but ...

my experience is this. i have been "managing" my borderline for my entire life. thanks to a brilliant middle class upbringing i learned how to hide it. but it comes out when i'm sick and it makes things worse. when i got really really really sick and ended up inpatient a couple of times i just quit school and went and worked outdoors for a year. and it was really hard because i had to look at myself and i realised how much i hated myself and what i needed to do to fix that. i chose to do it mainly myself, because i had access to a supportive shrink and medical resources, literature etc.

this is making no sense.

dbt isn't the magic bullet. it isn't your one chance at salvation from a borderline life and a "heartsink" tattoo. you don't start therapy on day x and finish on day z cured. it is a tool to get yourself into a place where you can manage your illnessyou have to be in the right frame of mind to do it. if you haven't worked yourself into that mindset, then it's just wasted time. if you don't start living the difference, then dbt will do absolutely nothing for you.

whee. no sense at all.

you sound smart. you sound smart enough to realise that you might just fool yourself around. my advice is to find yourself a doctor you can relate to, get yourself a decent med cocktail, and either decide you're going to ride it out until your mind's ready, or take it all on now and don't fuck yourself about wasting time on something you're not putting 100% into.

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  • 3 weeks later...


Marsha Linehan has a series of videos she created for people to go through the skills with, you could get those videos... they are done by Behavioral Tech.  They are decent with the skills and then you could do the rest of the skills by yourself and with your therapist one by one. 

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that post blew me away.  Because I'm in that spot you're talking about, exactly.  That space between knowing you SHOULD and NEED to get better and really not believing things are bad enough to give it a real shot. 

It's an acceptance thing.  I want to get better on my terms and I still refuse to accept that that can't happen.

It's a petulant child's kind of thing, stamping my feet saying MY WAY MY WAY MY WAY IT'S NOT FAIR IT'S MY TURN. 

Anyway, your post wasn't in any way directed at me, obviously, but it struck a vein. 

Ophelia, I tend to think somewhat like stinky... in that if it's something that your heart is really in, then it's definitely possible and you probably can and will.  But if it's not something you really want, then why waste the time?

(says the girl who goes through the med-eating, therapy-going motions and gains little because she doesn't want it yet.)

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cool becca. now i'm blushing.

this is something i feel really strongly about. because there is something in between cure and palliation, and it is up to everyone to find that place for themselves.  i figure that i'm sick in part to crappy coping skills, and how better to improve coping skills than to live life with my illness, not against it. the genetics i can't do anything about, but i can learn to be a successful crazyperson.

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I just read through my first set of work sheets and I'm totally lost already!  And the whole thing about how Marsha said, All Therapists are Jerks!  I actually just wanted to reach out and slap her!  I love my therapist!  She's been my therapist since 1996!  Hell we share the same birthday!  Send each other cards!  She's like a friend to me.  I can't hate her!

Then I got lost with all the damn big words in the packet.

Maybe I'm not ready for this.

Or maybe I'm just scared.

I don't know.


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