I have skimmed through this so forgive me if I missed anything important which I probably did.
I wanted to respond as I took a 4 month group therapy program on DBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, at the local University -- led by two MSW Level II - Clinical MSWs with extensive training. It was group therapy, based on a combo of CBT and Buddhist concepts.
One thing, I'm certainly not a born again Buddhist, and I don't think a lot
of people here are into Buddhism, but there are many tenets/practices of Buddhism that are helpful for everyday life and for coping with mental illness. I'd say some people on the board have found Buddhism as a coping mechanism to help distract and modulate mood.
Meditation for me is also not good. There is an article in Cavan's UNREAL
It can bring on DP/DR as someone else mentioned in this thread.
Look under "Trance States" where there is a discussion of causes of DP/DR from intense meditation.
Here is an excellent article explaining DBT, developed by a pschologist in the early 1990s at the University of Washington to help with Borderline patients. It was found this is was successful in helping many people cope with mental illness.
Meditation is not stressed and some in group, including myself find it disturbing. And I'm talking about people w/bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, etc. No one in my group of about 20 knew what DP was. The MSWs did.
Also, my background is one of neglect and abuse by my mother, a psychiatrist. I had DP/DR episodes in my childhood starting at 4/5 years of age. This became chronic around age 12/13/14 and has persisted all these years... not one break... I'm 46.
In a nutshell...
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is based on a bio-social theory of borderline personality disorder. Linehan hypothesises that the disorder is a consequence of an emotionally vulnerable individual growing up within a particular set of environmental circumstances which she refers to as the 'Invalidating Environment'.
An 'emotionally vulnerable' person in this sense is someone whose autonomic nervous system reacts excessively to relatively low levels of stress and takes longer than normal to return to baseline once the stress is removed. It is proposed that this is the consequence of a biological diathesis.
The term 'Invalidating Environment' refers essentially to a situation in which the personal experiences and responses of the growing child are disqualified or "invalidated" by the significant others in her life.
The child's personal communications are not accepted as an accurate indication of her true feelings and it is implied that, if they were accurate, then such feelings would not be a valid response to circumstances. Furthermore, an Invalidating Environment is characterised by a tendency to place a high value on self-control and self-reliance.
Possible difficulties in these areas are not acknowledged and it is implied that problem solving should be easy given proper motivation. Any failure on the part of the child to perform to the expected standard is therefore ascribed to lack of motivation or some other negative characteristic of her character. (The feminine pronoun will be used throughout this paper when referring to the patient since the majority of BPD patients are female and Linehan's work has focused on this subgroup).
My program was very goal-oriented program based on four "Modules" lead by an ACSW and supervised by a psychiatrist I will saw once a month as well. I also have unlimited to access to said psychiatrist for crises, etc. Phone support, etc. I still see the shrink though he is a 3rd year Psych resident at a large highly regarded teaching hospital here. He'll move on in a year, but I need to talk to him about specific issues and he monitors me my meds.
"There are four primary modes of treatment in DBT :
Group skills training
Whilst keeping within the overall model, group therapy and other modes of treatment may be added at the discretion of the therapist, providing the targets for that mode are clear and prioritised."
The four Modules (one month each of four 1.5 hour sessions) are as follows:
1. Core mindfulness skills.
2. Interpersonal effectiveness skills.
3. Emotion modulation skills.
4. Distress tolerance skills.
I have found, through this program, a lot of sanity in the tenets of Buddhism. Being a non-theist, I use the religious/ritual aspects of Buddhism as best I can. They are an excelent way to apply healthy thinking/approaches to life, ways of calming/soothing one's self, etc.
I recommend books by Thich Naht Hahn particularly "The Miracle of Mindfulness" -- Buddhist "enlightenment" which can only be achieved by a very few is the OPPOSITE of DP/DR as was mentioned.
Also, a great book for those of us w/out any other organized religion or religion beliefs is "Buddhism without Beliefs" by Stephen Batchelor.
DBT is based heavily on the work of Thich Naht Hahn, but mind you this has been studied scientifically. Put to the tests of the scientific method.
I hope I haven't repeated myself. Check out the other discussion about this.
Dreamer who finds Buddhism... the simplest tenets... incredibly sane and applicable to anyone seeking to find more calm. DBT was excellent for me, in GROUP where I found so many people with different illnesses having concerns I did.
I can take modules over again, and may take Mindfulness and Interpersonal Skills. This is covered by insurance, is inexpensive. The thing is it is probably only offered at teaching hospitals.
Hope this helps.