The Benefits of Radical Open DBT: A New Path Towards Emotional Healing

Radical Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT) is a new approach to treating mental health issues that effectively treat individuals with various diagnoses and symptoms. This type of therapy differs from standard DBT in several ways, which we will explore in this article.

First, it’s important to understand what DBT is. DBT is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, developed initially as a treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). It has since been found to help treat other conditions, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders. DBT aims to teach people skills that will help them manage their emotions better and improve their interpersonal relationships.

RO DBT takes the principles of standard DBT and adds some additional elements. One key difference between RO DBT and standard DBT is that RO focuses more on social signalling theory. This theory suggests that some people may have difficulty navigating social interactions because they struggle to express or read others’ emotions accurately.

In addition to social signalling theory, RO also emphasizes emotional openness more. Emotional openness involves expressing emotions freely without fear of judgment or rejection from others. By contrast, standard DBT emphasizes emotional regulation – learning to control one’s emotions rather than simply expressing them.

So how does this translate into actual treatments? Let’s take a look at how RO can benefit people with different diagnoses and symptoms:

For those struggling with chronic depression

RO can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with chronic depression as it helps them learn how to express difficult emotions. People who are depressed often have trouble communicating their feelings because they fear being judged or rejected by others. This can lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

Through RO therapy sessions, patients are taught skills for recognizing and expressing their emotions effectively. They learn how to identify their own values and set goals for themselves. These skills help patients regain control over their lives, essential for overcoming depression.

For individuals with anxiety disorders

RO can also be helpful for people with anxiety disorders such as social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder. In these cases, individuals may struggle with social interactions because they fear judgment from others. This can make it difficult to form connections with others and lead to feelings of isolation.

Through RO therapy, patients learn how to identify their own emotional signals and recognize the emotional signals of others. They also learn how to express themselves more effectively in social situations. This can increase confidence and a greater sense of connection with others.

For individuals with eating disorders

RO may benefit people struggling with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. These conditions often involve a preoccupation with one’s body image and a fear of being judged by others based on that image.

Through RO therapy, patients learn how to identify their own emotional signals related to food and body image. They also learn to express those emotions healthily rather than resorting to destructive behaviours like restricting food intake or purging.


Overcontrol refers to a pattern of behaviours and thoughts involving high self-control, emotional restraint, and rigidity. People who experience overcontrol have difficulty expressing their emotions, connecting with others, and adapting to new situations.

RO DBT targets overcontrol by addressing three main factors: social signalling, emotional loneliness, and rigid attentional focus. Social signalling involves nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions and body language. In RO DBT, individuals learn to use adaptive social signalling to connect meaningfully with others. Emotional loneliness refers to feeling disconnected from others due to difficulties expressing emotions. In RO DBT, individuals learn to identify and express their emotions healthily. Rigid attentional focus refers to an inability to shift one’s focus or adjust one’s behaviour when needed. In RO DBT, individuals learn to be more flexible in thinking and behaviour.

For example, someone with overcontrol might have trouble making friends because they appear cold or disinterested due to a lack of appropriate social signalling. They might also struggle with anxiety or depression because they cannot express their emotions effectively. In treatment, they would work on learning how to use appropriate social signals and express their feelings in healthy ways. They would also work on being more flexible to adapt better when things do not go as planned.

RO DBT Skills Training

In addition to individual therapy sessions, RO DBT also includes skills training sessions where patients come together in a group setting to practice the skills they have learned in individual therapy. These sessions are designed to provide additional support and reinforcement for the skills taught in individual therapy.

During these group sessions, patients are encouraged to practice radical openness and emotional expression without fear of judgment from other group members. Participants learn mindfulness meditation, emotion regulation techniques, assertiveness training, and distress tolerance strategies.

Overall, Radical Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is a practical new approach that builds on traditional DBT principles by incorporating social signalling theory and emphasizing emotional openness instead of just emotional regulation. This approach can particularly benefit individuals with chronic depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. RO DBT Skills Training is also essential to the therapy process as it provides additional support and reinforcement for the skills learned in individual therapy sessions.

RO DBT at STG Health

Suppose you or someone you know struggles with chronic depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. In that case, it may be time to consider taking a step toward healing by exploring the benefits of Radical Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT).

STG Health Services offers RO DBT therapy sessions and skills training to help individuals regain control over their emotions and achieve greater emotional openness. Our experienced therapists are committed to providing compassionate care in a supportive environment.

Don’t let mental health issues keep you from living your best life. Contact us today at STG Health Services to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward healing through RO DBT therapy.


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