Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT)

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is an innovative evidence-based treatment designed for individuals struggling with overcontrol (OC) issues. Developed by Dr. Thomas Lynch, RO DBT addresses disorders characterized by excessive self-control, such as chronic depression, treatment-resistant anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and some personality disorders like Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). Overcontrol has been linked to social isolation, poor interpersonal relations, and difficulty adapting to changing environments. RO DBT aims to promote emotional well-being by encouraging openness, flexibility, and direct communication.

Understanding Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy

RO DBT is built on the foundational principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) but is specifically tailored to the needs of overcontrolled individuals. It integrates strategies from neuroscience, dialectical philosophy, and mindfulness practices to help clients learn to relax their rigid control and engage more fully with life.

Core Principles of RO DBT

  • Openness to Feedback: Cultivating receptivity to new information and feedback, even when it contradicts personal beliefs.
  • Flexibility: Developing the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and relinquish control when necessary.
  • Social Connectedness: Enhancing interpersonal skills to build genuine relationships and reduce social isolation.

Methodologies in RO DBT

RO DBT includes both individual therapy sessions and skills training classes, where clients learn and practice new strategies for emotional expression, communication, and behavioral change:

Individual Therapy

Focuses on personalized goals and the application of RO DBT principles to specific life challenges, emphasizing the therapeutic relationship as a context for learning and growth.

Skills Training

Involves group sessions where clients learn practical skills divided into five key areas: Radical Openness, Self-Enquiry, Flexible Mind, Social Signaling, and Valued Goals.

Radical Openness

The practice of actively seeking what one doesn’t know, challenging personal biases, and embracing the unknown with curiosity.


Encourages continuous reflection on personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions to foster self-understanding and growth.


Adapts mindfulness practices to help individuals with overcontrol issues experience the present moment more fully and with less judgment.

Benefits and Application

RO DBT has been shown to be effective for individuals who:

  • Experience chronic depression, anxiety, or anorexia nervosa, particularly when these conditions are resistant to other treatments.
  • Have been diagnosed with personality disorders characterized by overcontrol, such as OCPD.
  • Struggle with social isolation, intimacy issues, or feelings of emptiness despite a high degree of personal control and success in certain areas of life.

Who Can Benefit from RO DBT?

RO DBT is suitable for anyone who identifies with the traits of overcontrol and is looking to increase emotional expression, social connectivity, and psychological well-being. It’s especially beneficial for those feeling stuck in patterns of excessive self-control that limit their ability to enjoy life fully and maintain close relationships.

Training and Practice

Therapists offering RO DBT are typically trained mental health professionals who have completed specialized training in RO DBT principles, techniques, and treatment protocols. Certification requires comprehensive training, including workshops, supervision, and practical application of RO DBT in clinical settings.


Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy offers a unique approach to psychological treatment, focusing on the challenges of overcontrol. By promoting openness, flexibility, and social engagement, RO DBT helps individuals lead fuller, more satisfying lives.