BodyMatters and Treat Yourself Well are pleased to be offering online Radically Open Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (RO-DBT) classes.

What is RO-DBT?

Are you the sort of person who is some of the following: dutiful, avoids risk and novelty, plans ahead, struggles to really connect with others, follows rules, feels unappreciated, struggles to relax and be playful? Would you like help to be more receptive and open, flexible and socially connected?

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) could be for you. RO-DBT is a relatively new evidence-based treatment for patients with emotional over-control.  ‘Self-control’ is usually seen as a good thing, however too much self-control can cause difficulties.  Excessive self-control is associated with social isolation and poor interpersonal relations and it contributes to conditions like anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, chronic depression and autistic spectrum disorders.

Over- control is seen as a problem of emotional loneliness – not necessarily lacking contact with others……but lack of social connectedness with others.

We are social beings and we know that 3 core components of emotional well-being are:

  1. Openness to feedback, even when this is challenging
  2. Flexibility in our responses, to ever changing demands
  3. Communication of our emotions, recognising that expressing emotion is crucial when forming close interpersonal bonds.

RO-DBT treatment strategies aim to build:

  1. Flexible responding to the demands of the moment
  2. Emphasis on the importance of authentic emotional expression to build positive interpersonal relatiotionships
  3. Self enquiry into our usual responses
  4. Ability to manage unexpected or challenging feedback

The Difference between RO-DBT vs ‘regular’ DBT

You might have heard of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), which is the foundation of Radically Open-Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO-DBT). Whilst DBT was developed to treat clients who have problems due to what is considered to be an  “under-controlled” style- for example, being dramatic or erratic, RO-DBT is for clients who  more of an “over-controlled style”- such as being emotionally constricted and/or risk-averse personality styles). Whilst both treatments use behavioural principles and a dialectical philosophy, the treatment target differs. Specifically, DBT focuses on emotion regulation skills, improving behavioural control, and distress tolerance, whereas RO-DBT primarily focuses on social-signaling, openness and social connectedness skills. A summary of the difference is available here.

Who benefits from RO-DBT? 

RO-DBT is beneficial for people who are feeling socially isolated and/or struggling to emotionally connect with others, due to an over-controlling style of coping and an excessive desire to achieve perfection. Research suggests RO DBT is effective for treating those over-controlling symptoms in many diagnoses including chronic depression, treatment-resistant anxiety disorders, anorexia nervosa, autism spectrum disorders and personality disorders such as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. 

What is the set up for RO-DBT?

Much like “regular” DBT, RO-DBT comprises of:

  • Weekly group skills classes, focusing on learning new skills, More information on our skills classes is outlined below
  • Weekly individual sessions with an individual, RO-DBT trained therapist, focusing on implementing these skills

What attending the class will be like?

We want everyone to feel welcomed to the ‘tribe’, hence we encourage participants to share their thoughts and opinions, but this is never forced. Our classes start with mindfulness practice, then moves to reviewing homework from the previous session, learning new skills of the week, and ends with introduction of new homework. The classes are held via Zoom. We usually recommend participants also attend individual therapy, particularly with a therapist who is RO DBT trained or informed. The focus of classes is skill acquisition – not therapy.

What Next?
If you would you like to talk more about RO-DBT and schedule an assessment to determine suitability, please contact us. Please note that rebates under medicare do not apply to RO-DBT.

More information is available here:

RO-DBT Flyer for Teens

RO-DBT for Adults 

RODBT Individual and Skills Classes Outline