"[Swenson] is a teacher’s teacher, a model for other experts in how to make DBT clear and accessible to experts and practitioners at all levels….There is no book out there quite like this: clear, deep, compelling, and at times funny. It is true to the model of DBT and at the same time personal, seeming as if you are in a supervision with him."--from the Foreword by Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Director, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington; developer of DBT "Swenson’s evocative clinical storytelling will spark and deepen your own empathy, creativity, and wisdom in therapy's most complex moments. Reading this book is like getting to play a pickup game with a buddy who happens to play professional basketball--the author is approachably humble, amazingly skilled, and he's on your team. Highly recommended."--Kelly Koerner, PhD, Evidence-Based Practice Institute, Seattle, Washington "Even the most senior DBT therapist will undoubtedly become better after Swenson's DBT master class. Swenson uses clinical vignettes, personal stories, and superb teaching examples that breathe life into the most challenging elements of DBT. Readers will marvel at the abundance of wisdom that Swenson brings to bear in teaching clinicians how to precisely apply DBT principles in difficult situations, including how to capably conduct the 'life-worth-living' conversation with a suicidal client. From one of the leading clinical educators of our time, this book is a tour de force."--Alec L. Miller, PsyD, Cognitive and Behavioral Consultants, LLP, and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Montefiore Medical Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine "The single best account of DBT principles in practice currently available. It reflects the author’s accumulation of decades of clinical experience, integrated into a compelling package. The book is highly accessible, exceptionally well informed, and clinically valuable for novices as well as experts. I recommend it for anyone wishing to practice or teach DBT."--Peter Fonagy, OBE, FMedSci, FBA, PhD, Professor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental Science and Head, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, United Kingdom "This book allows the reader the opportunity to become a virtual member of Swenson's DBT consultation team. I have been lucky to work with Swenson during his brilliant DBT career, and the experience--as well as his gift for teaching--is well captured here."--Perry D. Hoffman, PhD, President, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder "This fantastic, much-needed book reflects Swenson's extensive experience practicing and teaching DBT, as well as his passion for improving therapists' competence in this complex treatment. Students and experienced clinicians alike will find value in this book's clear teaching points and poignant stories."--Shireen L. Rizvi, PhD, ABPP, Graduate School of Applied and Clinical Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey "If you ask for the world's leading DBT teachers, Swenson's name shows up near the very top. He was the first to take up the challenge of adapting DBT to settings such as inpatient units without losing its principles, spirit, and therapeutic power. His deep understanding of DBT principles enables him to balance treatment adherence with flexibility in adapting it to different populations and contexts. This book distills the essentials of two decades of practical wisdom in DBT. It’s a 'must' for every DBT therapist, or anyone who cares for patients with severe emotion dysregulation."--Martin Bohus, MD, Chair, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Heidelberg University, Germany
Reviewer: Aaron Plattner, MD (Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services)
Description: This is an articulate guide to how to properly use dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills to continue to maintain progress toward the established goals of patients and therapists.
Purpose: The title appropriately describes the purpose of the book: to educate readers on how to maintain helpful traction in therapeutic relationships by properly using these skills. Given the patient population that often requires DBT, these objectives are important and the book meets them.
Audience: The target audience is "all DBT practitioners, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, and psychiatric nurses, as well as graduate students and trainees in these fields." All of these professionals, if actively engaged in DBT, would benefit from this book, as many principles are best understood through application to a therapeutic relationship.
Features: The 15 chapters begin with an explanation of the acceptance, change, and dialectical paradigms. The remaining chapters illustrate the structural anatomy of DBT using an analogy of a tree and review different DBT strategies for given dilemmas and complications. The final chapter appropriately reviews prevention of burnout of therapists. The final section includes an afterword which precisely summarizes the main tenets of the text, references, and an index.
Assessment: In my residency training, I had instruction in DBT in several classes and from supervisors, which included articles and chapters from various textbooks. It would have been helpful to have this book during my training, as I appreciate the precise and practical way in which it addresses the multiple conflicts and dilemmas that arise during DBT. The author is able to explain complicated matters in terms that are easy to understand and thus apply to patients. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is actively engaged in using DBT, which I suspect is a great deal of clinicians who may not recognize that they are using it at some level.