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on March 16, 2005
Dialectical behavior therapy (a form of Cognitive Therapy), this book is based upon, is derived, in part, from a process in which seemingly contradictory facts or ideas are weighed against each other to come up with a resolution or balance. For instance, you might learn about accepting who you are, faults and all, while at the same time making changes in your thoughts and behaviors. Sounds great, doesn't it?

The first 10 pages were extremely interesting and hopeful. But then, suddenly, the book becomes cryptic and hard to follow.

I consider myself to be someone of at least average intelligence with a BA in psychology. I've read and used many of self-help books with a degree of success.

As much as I wanted to like this book, I failed to understand its foreign philosophical concepts. Even simple ideas, felt more complex than needed to be, given some esoteric definitions.

I am not sure who is at fault: the author for not explaining it, myself for failing to understand, or DBT being so complex, but after about 2/3 of this book, I finally mindfully accepted that I needed to give up.

I my opinion,there are two problems with this book.

1. The author is just unable to explain new concepts to a newbie, especially when they are so "new-age". Marra is more suited to be a researcher, rather than write a self-help book for a patient who is confused and reduced by his/her problems in the first place and has no prior background in psychology or philosophy. (It can be done, just read Mind over Mood by Greenberg and you'll see what a clear and well organized self-help book has to look like).

2. Quite possibly, DBT is not well suited to be self-taught from a book.

At some point, I will give this book another go, and if I feel any different, I will amend my review accordingly. By no means, I would give up on DBT since study after study confirms its superior effectiveness in treating Borderline Personality Disorder as well as common intense emotions.
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on June 9, 2007
Can a book save your life? This book saved mine. The book along with therapy.

This book was rather dry reading but the end of the book contains lots of worksheets that can make all the difference. I wish this author would do a book of JUST worksheets. It is a book that was written more for the professional therapists or people studying this type of therapy but I have used it in group therapies and it is powerful and helpful.

When I first started, I tried to read the book but didn't understand it so I ripped out the last 1/2 of the book (Pages 105 - 180)..those were the worksheets and they made all the difference. After that I was ready for pages 59 - 105.

I eventually made it from page 1 and on but it is slow reading.

I know I only gave this book a 3, but it saved my life. It is just that it took three readings before I could really understand it.
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on March 19, 2006
In purchasing T. Marra's work on Dialectical Behavior Therapy, I was believing I purchased a workbook suitable for use in session that would assist my struggling client's work through the complicated issues of low stress tolerance and other areas of dysregultaion. Alas, I was greeted with another author utilizing advanced terminology and contradicting the endorsement that this manual would "penetrate the jargon of dialectics." It is a useless manual for my clientele. Marra's work is yet another writing that requires too much effort at untangling his psycho language. The client's read the material and are lost at how to use the skills in a manner that will increase their quality of life. This is also my complaint with Marsha Linahan's works. Her material is appropriate for graduate work but not in the trenches of the clinical office. If an agency can afford her tapes, the material is then broken down but most non-profit agenices are not so fortunate. With Marra's manual, I discovered more of the same on my search to find materials helpful for breaking down the complicated techniques so they may be easily applied with the individual in session and in groups. GFL LCSW
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on October 8, 2010
When I first purchased this book I thought it looked good. When I began to read it I was overwhelmed with the 200+ pages of the book, the many exercises in the workbook, and the many suggestions. But I have been depressed and anxious for many years, so I thought I would give it a try. The book describes my condition well. The exercises are specific, thought provoking, and made me question why I do the things I do. Each chapter unfolds a new piece of the puzzle of my depression. I stopped allowing my experiences to be experienced (what he calls mindfulness), stopped doing things that used to bring me pleasure (emotion regulation), had lost meaning in my life, and was not leading my life strategically. This workbook walked me through the process. I would highly recommend this workbook to anyone who is depressed or anxious. It is not an easy process going through this workbook. It took patience and I had to pace myself. But the results have been great.
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on March 25, 2015
Having read and been treated mostly with CBT previously, I am familiar with the parts of CBT that overlap with DBT, but I have to say that CBT wasn't enough. I was resistant to what I understood of DBT because the clinical group settings used for those with Borderline Personality Disorder I felt would be too invalidating and unnecessarily structured for someone with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I was also uncomfortable with what I understood is a Eastern religious tint to DBT. I'm glad that I didn't let these concerns stop me from buying this book. I figured that if there were even just a few tools in it that were helpful, and that I had to ignore a lot of it, that I would still be better off. I'm using the book in conjunction with individual therapy. The book does a good job of explaining the conflicting feelings we have and how these conflicts are normal, among other things. I do with there were more examples before the exercises, because when a person is depressed it's hard to think creatively enough to figure out how things apply to them. One example isn't enough sometimes, so it's taking longer to work through the book because it takes a long while to figure out how to apply things to me. It's still extremely worth it.

A couple people have complained that the book has dense terminology and isn't accessible to average people. I've only had a semester of community college and have never worked in the psychiatric field and I have no trouble understanding this book. I think it's worth a try for anyone with these feelings.
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on March 19, 2014
This is a DBT-based book for depression, and honestly as a therapist I would not recommend this book to someone without a therapist to help guide you through it. The word dialectic alone can be tricky to grasp, and the language and concepts in here are not presented in a particularly "average reader"-friendly way. The DBT basics are here including mindfulness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance but none of that even begins until chapter 6, halfway through the book--the chapters preceding and following this seem to be Marra's own take on depression. Most folks that are depressed are using up valuable energy to even buy a self-help workbook and to get one that reads like stereo instructions makes things even tougher, especially if you tend to blame yourself for not understanding everything in it. I work with a therapist who has taught DBT skills for 20 years, and she came away with the same impression. Don't get me wrong, this can be a very useful guide if you have a lot of experience with DBT or work with a professional who has. My advice would be to either use this with a therapist who is trained in DBT or find another workbook on depression.
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on April 7, 2013
I saw a picture of a cat getting a bath the other day. His eyes were huge, and he looked terrified and mad and just completely freaked out.

That's what anxiety feels like, I thought.

This book has helped learn how to handle that feeling.

This book is very helpful If you feel like your emotions are sometimes running your life. If you test as a Highly Sensitive Person or Myers-Briggs INFJ, you may also be able to use this book. I have struggled more with anxiety that depression, and this book has helped me a lot with it. I now feel like I can handle the bad feelings, instead of freaking out or running from them. I highly recommend this book and am so glad I found it. It has helped me a lot.
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on May 8, 2004
I'm the webowner of Mental Health Today. The author has taken dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) which was originally used for borderline personality disorder consumers and prepared it for the use of consumers who experience anxiety and depression disorders. The book is excellent! Workbook filled with wonderful exercises. It's about time DBT has been claimed to assist other disorders and has been done so well in this book. Highly recommend!
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on July 9, 2014
I have read many self-help books and workbooks. Nothing has ever come close to being this engaging and helpful! I look forward to reading the text and doing the exercises. Can you imagine? Looking forward to work? Well, I do because the book makes sense, and the reader can understand why he or she is being asked to do these exercises. And these writing exercises are fascinating, while forcing you really examine your life. This is a deep book without being intimidating. It is highly readable and enjoyable to read. As one who has a great deal of experience reading self-help books and workbooks, I recommend this book above all the others.
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on October 31, 2008
I am a licensed practicing Ph.D. psychologist and very familiar with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)theory and practice. I have read and recommended this book to clients, and have also been using the book with clients. It is a very organized, dense book that is packed with complex theory and operationalization of theory. The reader may feel temporarily worse from an emotional perspective after reading the beginning chapters because these chapters clarify explicityl and in great detail what is problematic in all aspects of his/her life. However, if the reader can stick with the book, the later chapters provide tools to challenge problematic thinking as well as coping techniques. If the reader is overwhelmed reading the book independently, I would recommend seeing an experienced psychologist or other mental health professional who is familiar with DBT and can assist in working through the material. I also highly recommend this book to any practicing clinician who works with depression and anxiety.
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