Mission Statement
Here’s the story of how this site began and the process of change.

Gratitude
I began this website in 2001 because, at the time, there was very little DBT information on the internet geared toward DBT participants and graduates. Along with my colleagues, we were desperate to find a way to continue our DBT instruction or at least, stay updated on the skills. For me, staying active with the site has been a real gift. It has allowed me to remain active in DBT and be reminded of the skills to make my life a life worth living.

The fact that the visitors who come to this website benefit from it is an added bonus. I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I receive emails from site visitors telling me how the site has helped them or their clients.  This has been the most gratifying work I have ever done. It has become more than I could have ever dreamed.

We are Vulnerable
I believe that many people who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other mental illnesses as I have, are vulnerable adults. This seems especially true when a person is in the “throws” of learning DBT. It can be a confusing time. The process of incorporating the skills will be very helpful in the end, but in the meantime, is wrought with upheaval. We are challenging long-held beliefs and patterns of behavior that are familiar. It is easy to mistake familiar with better.

I have chosen to use a gentle tone in my responses to your emails and in the documents on the site that I have authored. If you are like me, forgiveness and self-compassion are new concepts. Many of us come from very traumatic backgrounds. I hope to communicate with you in ways that are validating and compassionate.

Our Experiences
Most of the information written on this site is by NON-PROFESSIONALS. I make a clear note of the articles that are by professionals. We tell our stories and write “lessons” to share how it is for us to experience using DBT skills in our lives. We want to make the process of integrating the skills easier for other DBT clients (sometimes called “consumers”) like ourselves. At some point or other, we have felt very alone in the process of applying the skills to our lives. This was true when we were participants as well as after graduating. Every one of us has felt, at times, that it was just too difficult and we wouldn’t be able to do it.

What we have learned is that integrating DBT skills requires practice. Certainly they are not intuitive in the beginning, but they can become so. I feel there’s sort of a good news/bad news about practice. The good news is that all that is required is to “show up.” Every time I practice being mindful, I get better at it. In that sense, I am guaranteed success. The bad news is that it takes time and patience which is a virtue difficult to maintain.

Peer-Led Groups
It is this understanding of the nature of practice that propelled us to investigate the idea of what “self-help” could mean to people with BPD in the context of DBT. We thought it would be very exciting if there could be ongoing DBT groups that were peer-led like AA or other 12-step programs. Many of us tried to make this a reality but, thus far, we have not been successful (at least for DBT participants diagnosed with BPD). The nature of our illness prevents us from self-management, if only because of our tendency toward drama, distrust, acting out and being triggered. Marsha Linehan cautioned us that a peer-led environment would not work. But we were enthusiastic to give it try.

Because of this initial impetus, the name of the website “DBT Self Help” can be misleading. We came up with the name at a time when we were determined to beat the odds. Over time, with the cuts to healthcare, many site visitors arrive with high hopes. Potential DBT clients hope that they can skip dealing with the insurance companies and learn DBT on their own. Friends and family members of people they believe need DBT sometimes think they can learn it and teach it on their own.

I guess I can’t say that this is impossible. A person who is very motivated and open to change may be able to learn it by themselves. Unfortunately, that is not the profile of most people diagnosed with BPD.

Insurance Companies
Don’t be discouraged, though. I personally believe that when you really need something that will benefit your inner self and make you a happier, more peaceful person, there will be a way. Keep putting it out there in the Universe. Things can come together. At the same time keep at your doctors and insurance companies to make this work. More and more people at the medical and educational levels are realizing that DBT skills can benefit anyone and everyone.


The DBT Group Environment
I think the reason that a group setting is so important to learning DBT is that the method that Marsha Linehan created to treat BPD is as important as the skills themselves. She had insight into the workings of the BPD mind and targeted DBT to meet those specific needs. The group format really works, although many people need to go through the program more than once. I have participated in four DBT groups myself and I benefited in a cumulative way.

So, how can a person continue to learn and grow with DBT practice? In my experience, you have to be a little creative. Think about creating a blog, keeping a journal, joining a listserv, or writing your story and submitting it to existing websites. You could volunteer at a DBT Center, encourage and validate others on their journey through DBT groups. Consider creating artworks or music or plays centered around the DBT experience. I promise that if there comes a day when there are “official” ongoing DBT groups, I will advertise it.

We are Not Professionals
It is important to understand that since most of the documents on this site have been written by non-professionals. Our writing is based on our experiences as DBT participants, so you shouldn’t mistake our opinions and conclusions as advice. We are not qualified to give advice. I try to make it very clear in my emails that I can share with you some similar experiences I have had in my journey. Maybe you can benefit from it. But take it with a “grain of salt.” Use your wise mind. What works for me might not work for you. There are perhaps ten different individuals who contributed to the DBT lessons. If you don’t like or agree with what one of them says, move on to the next. This is not a science. It is a process.

The DBT Community
Since 2001, this website has grown and so has the DBT community. There are a few more websites now that are written by DBT participants. I provide links to the ones that I know about. There has been an enormous amount of additional materials written by professionals. The experiences of professionals who have taught DBT has led to new scientific studies, a plethora of books about DBT and alternate ways of teaching and learning the skills. Like any other seed of a worthy idea, it blooms into many forms and thereby hones the methodology and increases the audience so that the skills can reach more people who will benefit from them.

At the same time, there have been more DBT graduates staying current by telling their experiences. The book, “The Facts,” was co-authored by a professional and a client, making it one of the most accessible books I have read about what it is like to live with BPD. AND, it does so from a non-judgmental stance. One of the persons who helped me to dream up this website was Kiera van Gelder. Since then, she has become involved with NAMI as the leading advocate for BPD from a client’s viewpoint. In July of 2010, she will be publishing her own story in the book, “The Buddha and the Borderline.”

I have made this website to be non-profit. I do not sell advertising. I receive many requests for reciprocal links to other sites. I examine each one carefully and try to only accept those directly related to DBT, BPD and pertinent mental health. As I said in the beginning of this statement, I have received so much more than I could have expected that it is my honor to serve you. Nevertheless, I am grateful for your support through donations from people who are able to help.

Ongoing Updates
In regards to maintaining the site, I’m afraid I cannot offer more than an annual update (although if I can do more in the meantime, I will). This is because in 2005, I suffered a brain injury and I simply do not possess the skills or energy once available to me. I wish I could provide you with more rapid responses to your emails and requests. But I appreciate your compassion and patience.

I truly wish the best to all of you who visit this site. To you, I say, “Namaste – the spirit in me bows to the spirit in you.”

Lisa Dietz

© 2003 - 2012 by Lisa Dietz. Please read the Copyright Page to learn how you may or may not use these materials.