Should Family Members Learn Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

When I created My Dialectical Life, I saw individuals with BPD as the primary audience but, honestly, family members and friends need dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), too.

Living with someone who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is extraordinarily difficult. What usually happens is that when one family member is suffering with intense and ever-changing emotions, most loved ones are thrown into the chaos that results from unrelenting crisis after unrelenting crisis.

It's so painful for everyone involved. The stress can be overwhelming.

Friends and family members often wonder, "I'm not the one who is sick. I don't need to learn any DBT skills."

But DBT isn't just for the person with the problem; it's for anyone who has a desire to cope more effectively with the constant turmoil and upheaval that often occurs when one is living with a severe mental illness.

Learning just a few DBT skills can help you feel more relaxed, in control of your own reactions, and mindful of your emotions. If your son, daughter, or spouse is learning dialectical behavior therapy with a trained mental health professional then you can begin to share a unique therapeutic language that will lead to greater understanding, trust, and healing.

It's really worth it.