If you gathered together a list of psychotherapy workers who had given as much to the field as Marsha Linehan in the past fifty years, it wouldn’t take a particularly large room to hold them all. Linehan, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, has long been one of the forerunners in her field, contributing greatly to the body of research out there in the subjects of suicide, borderline personality disorder, drug abuse, and more. In her position as Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, she has overseen the development of new and exciting treatments for disordered populations. |
As you might expect concerning a researcher who has devoted so much of her time and energy to furthering the body of knowledge concerning psychology and psychotherapy, Marsha Linehan has been the recipient of many awards in her field. These awards include the Louis I. Dublin Award, which recognized her lifetime work in research concerning suicide. She also received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology. Many other awards and accolades have been given to her to recognize and appreciate her broad contributions to the various fields of mental health.
Marsha Linehan’s greatest contribution likely came in her development of Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. She developed this program when she noted the many therapists who were suffering from intense burnout after growing weary of patients who refused to help in their own treatment. As part of her study, she realized that suicidal patients needed unconditional acceptance in order to begin their growth beyond the feelings of depression and doom. She also recognized the need for patients to participate in their own healing, which necessarily required that they come to an understanding that they needed help and they needed change.
In the development of DBT, she realized she needed to have patients view their therapists in a new way. Not as an adversary they needed to overcome, but as a partner in the fight against their own illness. Far too often, she found, the former was the case and it made successful treatment that much more difficult.
Because of the theories behind DBT and her work in all fields of psychotherapy, mental health professionals have long seen the benefits of implementing many of her ideas into their own practices. Available online are many of her writings and lectures, from which just about any therapist can pick up at least a few ideas that can improve their own treatments.
Marsha Linehan is very accomplished in her field. If you are interested in learning more about her work please visit: http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/.
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