Essentia Health Clinics offer two streams of treatment for individuals who would traditionally be seeking Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) treatment through our DBT Clinics (Melbourne DBT, Gold Coast DBT, Sydney DBT, Brisbane DBT & Online DBT). The traditional DBT, which we have been offering since 2004, will continue for individuals presenting with a spectrum of disorders characterized by excessive under-control (UC). Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT) is offered to target a spectrum of disorders characterized by excessive self-control, often referred to as overcontrol (OC). Both approaches have been well-researched and are considered evidence-based treatments. The RO-DBT approach is supported by 20 years of clinical experience and translational research that parallels established guidelines for treatment development (e.g., UK Medical Council, 2008; Rounsville & Carroll, 2001; 2006).

Australian treatment programs in RO-DBT are rare. DBT Clinics mental health professionals have sought training and supervision from approved RO-DBT trainers and supervisors with Radically Open Ltd in the UK to ensure the Australian community receives the most effective treatment approach. Our leadership was originally trained and supervised by senior trainers at Behavioral Tech LLC (2003-2008) and have also attended a number of training programs with the treatment developer Marsha Linehan.

The recommended approach of the Australian DBT Institute includes an initial assessment for individuals presenting to our service to determine if DBT or RO-DBT is best suited for each individual seeking our services for treatment.

RO-DBT is an evidence protocol for the treatment of

  • Chronic Depression
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Maladaptive Perfectionism
  • Treatment Resistant Anxiety

DBT is an evidence-based treatment of

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Binge/Purging Eating Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Conduct Disorders

What is RO-DBT?

Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy developed by Dr. Thomas R. Lynch for disorders of emotional overcontrol. RO DBT is a transdiagnostic treatment indicated for individuals with diagnoses of chronic depression, treatment-resistant anxiety disorders, anorexia nervosa, autism spectrum disorders, and avoidant, paranoid, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.

The approach is characterised by Therapeutic Silliness. The RO DBT approach takes silliness very seriously! Therapeutic Silliness is one of many approaches used by RO-DBT clinicians to help over-controlled individuals achieve their valued goals and viscerally experience what it feels like to be part of a tribe.

What are the components of outpatient RO DBT?

Outpatient RO DBT is comprised of four components delivered over an average of 30 weeks. The first three components are specific to individuals in treatment with the final component specific to the RO DBT therapist.

Specifically, the components are:

  • Weekly individual therapy (one hour in duration)
  • Weekly skills training class (2.5 hours in duration with 15-minute break)
  • Telephone consultation (optional)
  • Therapist participation in program-based RO DBT consultation meetings (optional)

How is RO DBT different from other psychotherapies?

RO DBT differs from other psychotherapies in several ways, and the most fundamental distinctions between RO DBT and all other treatments is that RO DBT is the first treatment to prioritise social-signaling as the primary mechanism of change. This is based on research showing that overcontrolled individuals have a heightened bio-temperamental threat sensitivity that makes it more difficult for them to enter into their neurobiologically based social-safety system. When individuals feel safe, they naturally experience a desire to explore and flexibly communicate with others. To address this difficulty, RO DBT teaches clients how to express emotions in a context-appropriate way and to use non-verbal social-signaling strategies to enhance social connectedness. It also teaches skills that activate areas of the brain associated with the social-safety system. Finally, radical openness involves skills for actively seeking one’s “personal unknown” in order to learn from a constantly changing environment.

How is RO DBT different from standard DBT?

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy and standard Dialectical Behavior Therapy share a similar name because they both emphasize their common roots in dialectics and behavior therapy. Although they share this common ancestry, they differ in several substantive ways. Understanding their differences is important because the similarities in their names can lead to the misperception that they are substantially alike or even the same treatment.

Is RO DBT effective?

The evidence base for RO DBT is robust and growing. The Radically Open website is comprehensive and lists the most up-to-date research available in RO-DBT with the most research support for the treatment of chronic depression and anorexia nervosa.

New referrals through our national intake service.

To access our Radically Open DBT programs individuals will be offered a telephone-based appointment (this phone call lasts 10-20 minutes and is free of charge) followed by an intake assessment ($80 flat fee with no rebates or through the NDIS or Workcover) to determine which form of DBT is most appropriate for your needs.

We have multiple options for individuals to contact our team for intake & referrals including via phone, email, medical objects or completion of one of our online forms (NDIS or General Referrals) below.