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Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

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This book is a step-by-step guide to teaching clients four sets of skills: interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and mindfulness. A vital component in Dr. Linehan’s comprehensive treatment program, the manual details precisely how to implement DBT behavioral skills training procedures. It provides everything the clinician needs to implement the program in skills training groups or with individual clients. Included are lecture notes, discussion questions, exercises, and practical advice on dealing with frequently encountered problems. In a large-size format with lay-flat binding for easy photocopying, the book features over three dozen reproducible client handouts and homework sheets.

See also Linehan's comprehensive presentation of DBT, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. Also available: instructive skills training videos for clients--Crisis Survival Skills: Part One, Crisis Survival Skills: Part Two, From Suffering to Freedom, This One Moment, and Opposite Action.  

180 pages, Paperback

First published May 21, 1993

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About the author

Marsha M. Linehan

61 books439 followers
Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP, is a Professor of Psychology and adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle and is Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, a research consortium that develops and evaluates treatments for multi-diagnostic, severely disordered, and suicidal populations. Her primary research is in the application of behavioral models to suicidal behaviors, drug abuse, and borderline personality disorder. She is also working to develop effective models for transferring science-based treatments to the clinical community.
She is the developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a treatment originally developed for the treatment of suicidal behaviors and since expanded to treatment of borderline personality disorder and other severe and complex mental disorders involving serious emotion dysregulation. In comparison to all other clinical interventions for suicidal behaviors, DBT is the only treatment that has been shown effective in multiple trials across numerous independent research studies. DBT is effective at reducing suicidal behavior and is cost-effective in comparison to both standard treatment and community treatments delivered by expert therapists. It is currently the gold-standard treatment for borderline personality disorder and has demonstrated utility in the treatment of high substance abuse and eating disorders.
Linehan has authored multiple books, including three treatment manuals: Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT Skills Training Manual (2nd ed.), and Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. She serves on a number of editorial boards and has published extensively in scientific journals.
Linehan is the founder of The Linehan Institute, a non-profit organization which helps advance mental health through support for education, research, and compassionate, scientifically-based treatments. Linehan is also the founder of Behavioral Tech LLC, a DBT training and consulting organization, and founder of Behavioral Tech Research, Inc., a company that develops innovative online and mobile technologies to disseminate science-based behavioral treatments for mental disorders.
Linehan was trained in spiritual directions under Gerald May and Tilden Edwards and is a Zen master (Roshi) in both the Sanbo-Kyodan-School under Willigis Jaeger Roshi (Germany) as well as in the Diamond Sangha (USA). She teaches mindfulness via workshops and retreats for health care providers.
She has dedicated her life and research to working with people whose lives are at-risk due to crippling and incapacitating psychological problems.

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5 stars
1,684 (50%)
4 stars
982 (29%)
3 stars
510 (15%)
2 stars
119 (3%)
1 star
60 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Jill.
105 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2016
I had given this manual 4 stars- I own it- but after some events in my life I am going to give it a proper rating. It deserves 5 stars. This book can help everyone, not just people suffering from borderline personality disorder. I have Bipolar (Type 2) and let me say, I had owned this book for years without cracking it open. I ended up attending a partial inpatient program that was teaching us all the techniques in this book, and let me tell you, they work. This skeptic is now convinced (and I work on changing my thoughts and staying with a routine.

This book is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) based. It's written by Marsha Linehan, who created DBT. I was in a class with people of varying issues. Bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, anger, addiction, etc.

It does what it says. It teaches emotion regulation, interperonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness. This is all ccognitive-behavioral therapy except redesigned. It is geared to counselors but the info and the worksheets can help you. I went into the classroom (and this book!) a skeptic but when I came out and really applied all the coping skills they taught us based on this book and this author's other works, all I can say is, you have to work at it, you have to practice it until your coping becomes a habit.But if you are really looking to change your issues whatever they may be, this book and anything DBT is super.
Profile Image for James.
Author 12 books89 followers
July 18, 2008
Excellent, one of the most useful professional books in our library! Highly recommended. It explains the principles behind a highly effective approach and provides concrete materials for use with clients. Borderline personality disorder causes its sufferers devastating emotional pain and disrupts seemingly every aspects of their lives. For too long, too many therapists and psychologists have stigmatized people with this problem and either pronounced them untreatable or simply refused to take them seriously. Marsha Linehan has done a great public service with her work, and every clinician should have this book, because he or she will need to help people deal with this issue.
3 reviews2 followers
July 2, 2011
This book is written for therapists. It has a lot of useful information but so much of it is written for the therapist. There's a lot of jargon and it is hard to read for someone not trained in the field. I had to skim through a lot of the material until I found information that I could use. The best part for the client is the session notes that teach the therapist how to do the program. It helped me to become familiar with terminology for DBT and some of the exercises or coping skills, but I had to read a lot of other books aimed at the client to really understand the program. I got a lot more out of the DBT workbooks that are written for clients than this book.
Profile Image for Charles Atkins.
Author 31 books47 followers
January 5, 2012
This is the essential manual for DBT. As someone who's led a skills-training group, been through the intensive etc. I find with each read my understanding of the skills--mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance--and how to apply them in my own life and present to others grows.

One of the strongest features of this manual is its accessibility. I use the metaphor often with DBT that there is no teacher's book, what's in here is equally open to the trainer and the client/patient.

Highly highly recommend this manual,and of course, DBT therapy.
Profile Image for Danielle.
77 reviews40 followers
October 30, 2009
Chock-a-block with loads of helpful strategies for dealing with symptoms like impulsiveness and emotional dysregulation. I realise that this is designed to be used in a clinical setting, but I still found benefit in reading it outside of therapy/implementing some of its strategies myself.
Profile Image for Sheziss.
1,331 reviews434 followers
February 9, 2021
Este es un compendio de la Terapia Dialéctico-Conductual, una de las 3 terapias, a día de hoy, validadas para el tratamiento de personas con trastornos de personalidad (las otras dos son Psicoterapia centrada en la transferencia : su aplicación al trastorno límite de la personalidad, muy desarrollada por Kernberg y Clarkin, y Tratamiento basado en la mentalización para trastornos de la personalidad. Una guía práctica, de Bateman y Fonagy).

Me llamó la atención también por los vídeos de la propia Linehan haciendo role-playing frente a otra persona haciendo de paciente. Me gustó el sentido del humor irreverente, la perseverancia y la ausencia de desánimo durante las escenas tipo.

El libro en sí es muy directo, más fácil de entender que el de Tratamiento basado en la mentalización para trastornos de la personalidad. Una guía práctica y, aunque el hecho de rellenar fichas parece de primeras de niños pequeños, al verlo aplicado en la práctica clínica una cambia la visión de las cosas.
4 reviews
July 9, 2009
On the whole, this is an excellent book-- the biggest weakness (which is also true of DBT materials as a whole) is that they don't sufficiently acknowledge just how useful these techniques are for client groups besides BPD's.
Profile Image for Grace.
1 review6 followers
July 28, 2012
Excellent workbook on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with many handouts for copying.
78 reviews
June 20, 2014
Pretty much the manual for doing DBT. There is supposed to be a second edition coming out soon.
Profile Image for Jessa Bame.
40 reviews
February 25, 2021
It is a bit heavy and technical at first but then as you keep reading it makes more sense.
Profile Image for Marina Andronova.
115 reviews1 follower
March 4, 2023
Исключительно хорошая и полезная книга: и для психотерапевтов, и для всех остальных людей.
Profile Image for stephanie.
1,103 reviews382 followers
July 5, 2007
this is the handbook that every linehan-trained clinician uses in their practice. it has handouts, it explains the skills, it outlines how group treatment is supposed to work.

unlike yalom's group therapy, which is known as a process group, linehan's group therapy is structured more like a class. in the beginning, members share their homework and any problems they might have had, while the group leader comments on it. then there is a transition into learning the new skill for the week. it's more interactive than it sounds, and this style of group therapy is often less intimidating for people who swear they would never be part of a process group.

linehan is updating the handbook, so at least the emotion regulation section will be much different (new acronyms and everything!) but it's still wroth flipping through if you see it at the store and want to see what homework looks like, etc.
Profile Image for Melanie.
49 reviews6 followers
April 21, 2013
I read this book and the manual of the same title because I enrolled in the comprehensive DBT program through UNR with Dr. Alan Fruzzetti. This text was less dry the the book with the same title and more action based. Folks trying to help themselves or someone they know might prefer this workbook format, however DBT is a highly specialized treatment and to be done properly it must be done with the help of a qualified therapist. DBT uses a series of skills to help client regulate their emotions and return to emotional baseline. Perhaps the the most refreshing aspect of this treatment is that it looks at a persons high emotional reactivity as a skills deficit; not having an environment that was validating enough for the client to build skills, over being 'crazy' as you will hear many clients say.The skills included in this manual are useful to everyday people without severe emotional dysregulation. Read on folks Read on
Author 2 books58 followers
October 5, 2013
As therapists, it's important not only to know what is going on. We need to know what to do! And this book is a welcome addition to the field, translating theory into practical interventions to help patients suffering from borderline personality disorder. Clear clinical vignettes show how to translate theory into practice. It really doesn't matter what theoretical perspective you come from. You must be able to address certain problems in a direct and effective manner. In fact, psychotherapy research shows that the best therapists from different perspectives look very similar in the way they work. That's why a manual like this is so useful, showing us practically how to intervene. If you work with patients suffering from this personality disorder, you owe it to yourself to know this book. Co-Creating Change: Effective Dynamic Therapy Techniques
January 22, 2023
می تونم بگم که با یه درمان فوق العاده آشنا شدم.
افرادBPDشخصیت های خاصین و پراز چالش و لینهان با ابداع درمانش کوچکترین ویژگی های این افراد رو مدنظر قرار داده.
خوشحالم که این درمان رو برای ارائم انتخاب کردم هرچندسخت،اینم خلاصه ی کتاب اگر لازمتون شد.(نسخه ی ترجمه ی خدیجه علوی و نادیاشاملو)
Profile Image for Julia.
292 reviews7 followers
September 8, 2013
No problem with this in terms of content(the title is a smidge misleading, but it's basically the Dialectical Behavior Therapy [DBT] skills manual). I love how Linehan's approach is really grounded in Eastern philosophy, with the kind of thorough explanation of techniques that I think only really comes from having a personal practice as well. I like therapists who practice what they preach :)

That said, I found the layout to be GAWDAWFUL. Seriously, so much great content--couldn't some editor somewhere have whipped it into prettier, easier to read shape?
Profile Image for Lina Ydrefelt.
87 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2014
Samlar mycket av det som används i dialektisk beteende terapi. Zenbuddism light, självhjälps- hopkok och västerländsk bygg din identitet och din lycka...
Otroligt att psykiatrin fungerar så här.
En terapiserie/kurs sprängfylld med politiska frågetecken som aldrig höjs.Svaren finns alltid inom ett par parametrar och varje känsla kan kvantifieras.
Borde inte läkare plugga sociologi för att bättre hantera kritiskt tänkande och metodologiska krav? Kanske idéhistoria för att förstå varför deras form av terapeutisk "lösning" poppar upp just här och nu.
Profile Image for Angel Graham.
Author 1 book30 followers
December 5, 2016
I used this book for nearly 2 years, in a group setting. Even the group leaders, who were both long time counselors, had some trouble following the reading in this. At times, it came down to hoping we were doing it right.

Not for a layperson to use on an everyday basis. It's just not written for the layperson. It's useful, but there are better books out there, based on this original principle.
Profile Image for Eve Vulgaris.
3 reviews42 followers
January 24, 2013
This book is a companion to my Dialectical Behavioral Therapy course and it is very helpful. The first chapter is absolutely wonderful as it gives background into Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as a discussion of the author's process in creating DBT.
Profile Image for Karinna.
60 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2013
This training manual should be read by psychologists and teachers alike. Linehan provides a step by step DBT based treatment for people with BPD. As an educator, I was interested in her session structure because much of what she did/practiced felt like a literature course. Engaging and useful.
Profile Image for Brandon.
46 reviews3 followers
May 12, 2007
Wonderful handbook for individual or group work. The vast majority of the contents can be easily modified to be more relevant to the client.
44 reviews7 followers
October 14, 2007
Theoretically an adjunct to DBT therapy, this book works well on its own, and applies to just about everybody.
Profile Image for Sarah.
695 reviews14 followers
June 9, 2008
This was, of course, amazing. It was great to read all the theory behind DBT. Linehan presents her material in a very user-friendly way.
Profile Image for Wendy Reiersen.
70 reviews37 followers
April 12, 2009
These are skills that would help anyone, most of us probably have to some extent, and all of us could probably do better.
Profile Image for Angel.
2 reviews6 followers
November 3, 2009
I learned a lot from this book. One thing I continue to do that I learned is "staying in the moment" which was a hard thing to learn.
Profile Image for Tilly.
30 reviews
December 7, 2009
I HATE the big bold title and wrapped it in brown paper.

IT WAS useful.

Funny at times...
Profile Image for Bonita.
3 reviews3 followers
June 6, 2012
This is THE DEFINITIVE MODULE in DBT training, of which Marsha Linehan is the creator. A must have for most clinicians and knowledgeable students of this form of CBT.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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