Self-control is generally considered by society to be a positive quality for a person to have. Think of how common it is to hear people say they wish they could “force themselves to keep working and finish this” or feel bad that they weren’t able to hold back from making a comment or having just one more dessert. New research, however, is finding that excessive self-control can lead to problems of isolation and loneliness. When people have excessive self-control, they become rigid and highly perfectionistic, risk-averse, emotionally closed-off to others, and often struggle to relax. Because self-control can be helpful in so many areas of life, it can be difficult to pinpoint it as the issue when someone is feeling lonely and struggling to connect with others.
For individuals with a biological predisposition towards overcontrolled (OC) coping, their heightened sense of threat leads to difficulty communicating prosocial intentions which keeps them living on the outside of groups with no clue how to join in. By avoiding taking risks by being vulnerable, they are also keeping people at an arm’s length all the time. Compounding the issue is the fact that OC individuals are “fixers” who are adept at striving to correct issues and think of solutions, strategies that rarely work when trying to develop interpersonal relationships. This struggle often leads to feelings of shame and low self-worth which perpetuate the OC coping style.
Developed by Thomas Lynch, Ph.D., Radically-Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) is a breakthrough, transdiagnostic treatment for difficult to treat disorders of overcontrol. This treatment helps clients with diagnoses such as chronic depression, anorexia nervosa, treatment-resistant anxiety, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and autism spectrum disorders. RO-DBT uses social signaling as a novel mechanism of change to help OC individuals rejoin the tribe and begin to connect with others. Instead of teaching skills to help restrain impulses, work harder, and think about things differently as many existing therapies do, RO-DBT teaches skills to help clients activate neurologically-based feelings of social safety in order to interact more flexibly and naturally (read: spontaneously) with others in order to build trust and connection. RO-DBT considers psychological well-being to involve three core features: receptivity and openness to take in new information and disconfirming feedback in order to learn; flexible control in order to respond to ever-changing environmental demands; and intimacy and connectedness with at least one other person. Humans are social creatures who evolutionarily needed others to survive. RO-DBT works to acknowledge what is right in all of us, rather than what is wrong so that we can build more connection.
Join DASC on October 4th, 2019 as we host Dr. Michael Maslar, a certified RO-DBT trainer, as he presents “Social Signaling Matters: An Introduction to Radically Open DBT.” In this full-day workshop, he will speak more about the overcontrolled style of coping and why it is so important to help those struggling join back in with the tribe. For more information about the training and to register, please visit http://radicallyopendbt.eventzilla.net