Question from an interested reader: Is DBT useful for eating disorders patients?
Answer from "Treatment Notes": One recent development in the contemporary treatment of eating disorders is the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as a treatment approach. You may be familiar with DBT, as developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan, for use with patients who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or demonstrate suicidal behaviors. Recent DBT studies show some very promising results for the treatment of eating disorders, including the first few published clinical trials which report 82-90% rates of abstinence from binge eating at the end of a 20-session DBT therapy program.
The "dialectical" aspect of DBT refers to the dual emphasis upon learning to experience and accept emotions and behavioral problems while also learning to cope with and regulate negative feeling states and bring about behavior change. One reason for the promising results may be that DBT has been shown to be useful for a broader range of patients than traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). According to Thomas Marra, Ph.D., author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Private Practice: A practical and comprehensive guide, the goal of a DBT approach to eating disorders treatment involves:
increasing the variety of emotional inputs available in a patient's environment
For additional information, see McCabe, E.B., LaVia, M.C. & Marcus, M.D. (2004). Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders. In Thompson, J.K. (Ed.) Handbook of Eating Disorders and Obesity. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Linehan, M.M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: The Guilford Press.
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