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The Dialectic in Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:53 pm
by Juliet
Marsha Linehan's original book about Dialectical Behavior Therapy is titled Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. I read in her recent memoir, Building a Life Worth Living, that the publisher didn't want the word "dialectical" in the title (because it would be too confusing or something), but instead the better-known "cognitive behavioral therapy". She said she did not want “cognitive behavioral therapy”, so they compromised and called it Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.
In that book, she describes the dialectical context of her development of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT):
DBT is based on a specific world view, that of dialeaics ... Most people are aware of dialectics through the socioeconomic theory of Marx and Engels. As a world view, however, dialectics also figures in theories of the development of science (Kuhn, 1970), biological evolution (Levins & Lewontin, 1985), sexual relations (Firestone, 1970), and more recently the development of thinking in adults (Basseches, 1984). Wells (1972, cited in Kegan, 1982) has documented a shift toward dialeaical approaches in almost every social and natural science during the last 150 years.
I looked up the texts she references and it's an interesting list:

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd ed., 1970)
Richard Levins & Richard Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist (1985)
Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970)
Michael Basseches, Dialectical Thinking and Adult Development (1984)
Robert Kegan, The Evolving Self: Problem & Process in Human Development (1982)
H.K. Wells, "Alienation and Dialectical Logic" (1972)