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Marsha Linehan tells the story of her journey from suicidal teenager to world-renowned developer of the life-saving behavioral therapy DBT, using her own struggle to develop life skills for others. "This book is a victory on both sides of the page."--Gloria Steinem "Are you one of us?" a patient once asked Marsha Linehan, the world-renowned psychologist who developed Dialect Marsha Linehan tells the story of her journey from suicidal teenager to world-renowned developer of the life-saving behavioral therapy DBT, using her own struggle to develop life skills for others. "This book is a victory on both sides of the page."--Gloria Steinem "Are you one of us?" a patient once asked Marsha Linehan, the world-renowned psychologist who developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy. "Because if you were, it would give all of us so much hope." Over the years, DBT had saved the lives of countless people fighting depression and suicidal thoughts, but Linehan had never revealed that her pioneering work was inspired by her own desperate struggles as a young woman. Only when she received this question did she finally decide to tell her story. In this remarkable and inspiring memoir, Linehan describes how, when she was eighteen years old, she began an abrupt downward spiral from popular teenager to suicidal young woman. After several miserable years in a psychiatric institute, Linehan made a vow that if she could get out of emotional hell, she would try to find a way to help others get out of hell too, and to build a life worth living. She went on to put herself through night school and college, living at a YWCA and often scraping together spare change to buy food. She went on to get her PhD in psychology, specializing in behavior therapy. In the 1980s, she achieved a breakthrough when she developed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, a therapeutic approach that combines acceptance of the self and ways to change. Linehan included mindfulness as a key component in therapy treatment, along with original and specific life-skill techniques. She says, You can't think yourself into new ways of acting; you can only act yourself into new ways of thinking. Throughout her extraordinary scientific career, Marsha Linehan remained a woman of deep spirituality. Her powerful and moving story is one of faith and perseverance. Linehan shows, in Building a Life Worth Living, how the principles of DBT really work--and how, using her life skills and techniques, people can build lives worth living.


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Marsha Linehan tells the story of her journey from suicidal teenager to world-renowned developer of the life-saving behavioral therapy DBT, using her own struggle to develop life skills for others. "This book is a victory on both sides of the page."--Gloria Steinem "Are you one of us?" a patient once asked Marsha Linehan, the world-renowned psychologist who developed Dialect Marsha Linehan tells the story of her journey from suicidal teenager to world-renowned developer of the life-saving behavioral therapy DBT, using her own struggle to develop life skills for others. "This book is a victory on both sides of the page."--Gloria Steinem "Are you one of us?" a patient once asked Marsha Linehan, the world-renowned psychologist who developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy. "Because if you were, it would give all of us so much hope." Over the years, DBT had saved the lives of countless people fighting depression and suicidal thoughts, but Linehan had never revealed that her pioneering work was inspired by her own desperate struggles as a young woman. Only when she received this question did she finally decide to tell her story. In this remarkable and inspiring memoir, Linehan describes how, when she was eighteen years old, she began an abrupt downward spiral from popular teenager to suicidal young woman. After several miserable years in a psychiatric institute, Linehan made a vow that if she could get out of emotional hell, she would try to find a way to help others get out of hell too, and to build a life worth living. She went on to put herself through night school and college, living at a YWCA and often scraping together spare change to buy food. She went on to get her PhD in psychology, specializing in behavior therapy. In the 1980s, she achieved a breakthrough when she developed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, a therapeutic approach that combines acceptance of the self and ways to change. Linehan included mindfulness as a key component in therapy treatment, along with original and specific life-skill techniques. She says, You can't think yourself into new ways of acting; you can only act yourself into new ways of thinking. Throughout her extraordinary scientific career, Marsha Linehan remained a woman of deep spirituality. Her powerful and moving story is one of faith and perseverance. Linehan shows, in Building a Life Worth Living, how the principles of DBT really work--and how, using her life skills and techniques, people can build lives worth living.

30 review for Building a Life Worth Living: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Delany

    It’s a fine autobiography of and by Marsha Linehan, one of my personal heroes in the field of psychology/psychotherapy. I’m a psychologist who once worked with patients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (and I grew up with a mother with BPD), so I have much experience with the suffering that these individuals live with and, often, inflict on others. Marsha survived the kind of descent into hell that is characteristic of these patients, but/and she found her way out and vowed to use It’s a fine autobiography of and by Marsha Linehan, one of my personal heroes in the field of psychology/psychotherapy. I’m a psychologist who once worked with patients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (and I grew up with a mother with BPD), so I have much experience with the suffering that these individuals live with and, often, inflict on others. Marsha survived the kind of descent into hell that is characteristic of these patients, but/and she found her way out and vowed to use her life to help bring others out of that same hell. And she fulfilled her vow with the development of the first truly effective therapeutic method for these patients. The components of the interventions she uses are designed to allow the patients to build for themselves, with the help of a well-trained therapist, a life worth living. Research clearly indicates that her method works. The only “downer” in this story is something Marsha did not directly address, which is the fact that traditional PhD and MD training is not adequate to produce psychotherapists who are competent to use this type of therapy (the same is true for master’s level therapists). There is a HUGE disconnect in our nation between the enormous need for competent psychotherapists, and the institutions that actually provide the training and do the licensing. The truth is that most psychotherapists of all disciplines graduate and get licensed without ever having received the kind of training and supervision that is required to produce a competent therapist. And few people talk about it; personally, I did my best to address this while I was teaching at a small university with a master’s degree program in counseling; my efforts were not welcomed with open arms. The prevailing view in those institutions is that the old form of training was good enough.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Gibian

    Marsha Linehan single-handedly changed how psychotherapy approached people with traits known as "borderline," a group of people considered not likely to benefit from therapy. In the 1990s brought in an approach that combined cognitive-behavioral therapy, feminism, and mindfulness practice. I got trained in this approach and loved it - I loved how usable the skills were, how it broke down the separation between "us" and "them" (as many of "us" therapists began integrating these skills into our li Marsha Linehan single-handedly changed how psychotherapy approached people with traits known as "borderline," a group of people considered not likely to benefit from therapy. In the 1990s brought in an approach that combined cognitive-behavioral therapy, feminism, and mindfulness practice. I got trained in this approach and loved it - I loved how usable the skills were, how it broke down the separation between "us" and "them" (as many of "us" therapists began integrating these skills into our lives as well), and I loved how many clients were benefitting. So of course I wanted to love Linehan's memoir, in which she was to talk about her own experience with "emotional hell," institutionalization, and therapies that did not work. Unfortunately, the book does not deliver. I abandoned the book fifty pages in, because already by then, it was repetitive, poorly written, not at all engaging nor gripping, and more or less an infomercial for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, the quite wonderful therapy she created. Leave the book but learn about the therapy; that's my takeaway.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I have tremendous respect for Dr. Linehan and for her contributions to psychiatry and the treatment of BPD, but this book is kind of terrible. Linehan may be brilliant, but she isn't a writer. This "memoir" is, unfortunately, a bit of a hot mess. Random anecdotes often end up straightforward, textbook-explanations of key DBT concepts...like a copy-paste from the DBT skills training manual. I don't know what I was expecting here...it is what it is, I guess. I did walk away with a little more unde I have tremendous respect for Dr. Linehan and for her contributions to psychiatry and the treatment of BPD, but this book is kind of terrible. Linehan may be brilliant, but she isn't a writer. This "memoir" is, unfortunately, a bit of a hot mess. Random anecdotes often end up straightforward, textbook-explanations of key DBT concepts...like a copy-paste from the DBT skills training manual. I don't know what I was expecting here...it is what it is, I guess. I did walk away with a little more understanding of the therapist's perspective and approach to DBT treatment...but this isn't a book I will be recommending to, well, anyone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paige Pagnotta

    I rarely leave such negative reviews but after finishing this book and seeing everyone raving about it, I feel like expressing my opinion on Marsha’s “memoir” (if you can call it that...). I’m very familiar with dbt- I’ve been through multiple dbt focused programs myself & have found it relatively helpful, and have also taught dbt skills to clients at work. So I was excited to read this and learn more about its creator! Wow, was I disappointed... I found this book to be extremely poorly executed. I rarely leave such negative reviews but after finishing this book and seeing everyone raving about it, I feel like expressing my opinion on Marsha’s “memoir” (if you can call it that...). I’m very familiar with dbt- I’ve been through multiple dbt focused programs myself & have found it relatively helpful, and have also taught dbt skills to clients at work. So I was excited to read this and learn more about its creator! Wow, was I disappointed... I found this book to be extremely poorly executed. It was disorganized and felt very detached and cold. Her story did not feel cohesive at all and the constant jumping around between several decades gave me whiplash. The majority of her anecdotes appeared to have zero point to them or did not relate to the rest of the chapter. I was also shocked at how poor the writing itself was. I read through to the end because I held out hope that it would get better, but it never did. I’m really surprised and curious about all of the high ratings....did we even read the same book??

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    A perfect book to be published in January. I remember the first time I heard Borderline Personality Disorder was from the movie, "Girl Interrupted" and I thought to myself that sounds like me. And I think when that book and movie came out I was still in high school. Well last year I heard the phrase again when a psychiatrist diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder on top of my depression and anxiety. I was fortunate enough to attend a program that used Marsha's development of DBT thera A perfect book to be published in January. I remember the first time I heard Borderline Personality Disorder was from the movie, "Girl Interrupted" and I thought to myself that sounds like me. And I think when that book and movie came out I was still in high school. Well last year I heard the phrase again when a psychiatrist diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder on top of my depression and anxiety. I was fortunate enough to attend a program that used Marsha's development of DBT therapy and I have continued using the same therapy today. I thought her memoir was touching and she gave a clear concrete examples of how her suffering and thinking led her to help others and create DBT. I think at times she lost me when she switched from her narrative to explaining DBT and this crossed between memoir and self-help. Very inspiring and I highly recommend.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Vaughn

    As a teen, Marsha Linehan experienced suicidal ideation and was sent to an institution for the mentally unwell. Toward the end of her time there, she made a vow to God that once she got herself out of hell, she would do everything she could to get others out, too. DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), is what Marsha created as her best effort to keep her vow and help patients with suicidal behavior. She is so intelligent and dedicated to helping others! I thought this book has such a powerful view As a teen, Marsha Linehan experienced suicidal ideation and was sent to an institution for the mentally unwell. Toward the end of her time there, she made a vow to God that once she got herself out of hell, she would do everything she could to get others out, too. DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), is what Marsha created as her best effort to keep her vow and help patients with suicidal behavior. She is so intelligent and dedicated to helping others! I thought this book has such a powerful viewpoint. It was very interesting to read of a therapist who has suffered from the same challenges that her patients are experiencing. This book is great for fans of psychology or memoir. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for gifting me this book in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    As a psychologist and DBT practitioner, but also a great memoir fan, I give this book a resounding 5++ stars! Marsha’s story in beyond inspirational and I am floored at how she was able to integrate her meaningful life experiences into a scientifically effective treatment. Her story gives me hope and will help me to instill hope in the clients I treat. No one else could’ve created this therapy. We are lucky to have Marsha.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Simpson

    This memoir shows the beauty and power of the wounded healer. Not only did she use her pain to singlehandedly advance mental health treatment, but she bravely risked all of that to inspire others through this same story. I was especially moved by the parts about her spiritual path. The quote, “I eventually learned that when it comes to spirituality, the more you actively want it, the less likely it is to happen. You have to throw yourself into your life as it is, and be open to whatever might be This memoir shows the beauty and power of the wounded healer. Not only did she use her pain to singlehandedly advance mental health treatment, but she bravely risked all of that to inspire others through this same story. I was especially moved by the parts about her spiritual path. The quote, “I eventually learned that when it comes to spirituality, the more you actively want it, the less likely it is to happen. You have to throw yourself into your life as it is, and be open to whatever might be” or said another way in the book, “You can’t think yourself into new ways of acting; you can only act yourself into new ways of thinking”. Great Book!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura Davenport

    Absolutely terrible. You can appreciate the empire she built as long as you don’t read the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Houle

    Reading the memoir of the remarkable mind behind dialectical behavioural therapy, one of the most groundbreaking treatment approaches in the history of mental health care, was pretty much as interesting and informative as you might expect. The format is almost entirely chronological, and some of the transitions felt a little choppy for me. It's not always poetic writing, nor was every detail neatly woven with every other. But there was a stark honesty throughout the narrative voice that, combine Reading the memoir of the remarkable mind behind dialectical behavioural therapy, one of the most groundbreaking treatment approaches in the history of mental health care, was pretty much as interesting and informative as you might expect. The format is almost entirely chronological, and some of the transitions felt a little choppy for me. It's not always poetic writing, nor was every detail neatly woven with every other. But there was a stark honesty throughout the narrative voice that, combined with Dr. Linehan's steely intelligence and surprisingly spiritual heart, smoothed out the rough bits and made every page worth my while. If you're not interested in the scholarly progression of psychiatric study, if you're put off by discussions of treating mental illness that involve meditation and God, or if you're looking for a simple, triumphant journey without potholes, give "Building a Life Worth Living" a miss. You'll no doubt find its ambiguity, not to mention the many dead ends and detours, a bit frustrating. But if this description appeals to you, rather than boring or daunting you, I can't encourage you strongly enough to give it a try. It might just change your life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kim Van orden

    Reading this book was an intense experience for me emotionally and I am still trying to wrap my brain around what it means to me and what I will take away. Marsha Linehan was one of my first heroes during my clinical psychology doctoral program. As a newbie to the field of suicide prevention research and psychotherapy with suicidal patients, discovering DBT was like a kid walking into a candy store. But, then, as with everything in life, it got more complicated—my relationship with DBT in this c Reading this book was an intense experience for me emotionally and I am still trying to wrap my brain around what it means to me and what I will take away. Marsha Linehan was one of my first heroes during my clinical psychology doctoral program. As a newbie to the field of suicide prevention research and psychotherapy with suicidal patients, discovering DBT was like a kid walking into a candy store. But, then, as with everything in life, it got more complicated—my relationship with DBT in this case. Learning and then really practicing DBT no doubt changed me profoundly for the better and I hope has had the same effect on my patients as well. And it hasn’t always been pretty. This is the first time, after reading a memoir, where I had the thought, “you know, I actually wish I didn’t know that.” There were things of deep beauty and excitement in this book and also things that confirmed deep fears and suspicions I had and part of me wishes they were still mysteries. I suppose this book made my already complicated relationship with DBT even more complicated.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe Cushman-Auslander

    The multiple famous people extolling this book on the back jacket clearly did not read the book. Marsha Linehan is a genius and her DBT has helped thousands of people live lives “worth living,” but this book is not well written and sheds little light on her life (especially if you are already familiar with DBT). Instead, it reads like a series of disconnected episodes, mostly from her professional life and her (admittedly impressive) accomplishments, with very little in the way of personal refle The multiple famous people extolling this book on the back jacket clearly did not read the book. Marsha Linehan is a genius and her DBT has helped thousands of people live lives “worth living,” but this book is not well written and sheds little light on her life (especially if you are already familiar with DBT). Instead, it reads like a series of disconnected episodes, mostly from her professional life and her (admittedly impressive) accomplishments, with very little in the way of personal reflections offered on these episodes. I did not feel like I got to know her much at all through this book—a real disappointment.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Bishop

    It’s certainly a decent book, but it likely will not interest anyone who doesn’t already have an interest in the founder of dialectical behavior therapy. The writing is pleasant enough, but the disorganized hops across time muddle the clarity of the story’s chronology. Linehan’s life is remarkable even as her gaps in memory leave us with more questions than answers about some of the early events in her life. Overall, I’d recommend this for anyone who has a prior interest in Linehan, but it is un It’s certainly a decent book, but it likely will not interest anyone who doesn’t already have an interest in the founder of dialectical behavior therapy. The writing is pleasant enough, but the disorganized hops across time muddle the clarity of the story’s chronology. Linehan’s life is remarkable even as her gaps in memory leave us with more questions than answers about some of the early events in her life. Overall, I’d recommend this for anyone who has a prior interest in Linehan, but it is unlikely to inspire or enlighten those who have never even heard of DBT.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Wow. This book is a treat. I rarely buy books, and as soon as I learned she was releasing a memoir, I pre-ordered and had to wait. I am not disappointed. Maybe it's already obvious, I am a huge fan of Linehan and her therapy teachings, I imagine most people who pick up this book will be. This book is really well constructed, edited and her sense of humor comes out. I have truly enjoyed learning more about Marsha the the origins of DBT. Wow. This book is a treat. I rarely buy books, and as soon as I learned she was releasing a memoir, I pre-ordered and had to wait. I am not disappointed. Maybe it's already obvious, I am a huge fan of Linehan and her therapy teachings, I imagine most people who pick up this book will be. This book is really well constructed, edited and her sense of humor comes out. I have truly enjoyed learning more about Marsha the the origins of DBT.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zanne

    I'm was surprised and kind of jarred by the fact that Marsha Linehan uses stigmatizing and outdated language such as "committed," and "completed" suicide in 2020. Mental health advocates for a long time has been advocating for a change to the term "died by suicide" to combat the stigma around suicide and I sort of assumed that Marsha would know this given the population she works with. To have Marsha, a distinguished professional and expert in the field, perpetuating the stigmatizing language is I'm was surprised and kind of jarred by the fact that Marsha Linehan uses stigmatizing and outdated language such as "committed," and "completed" suicide in 2020. Mental health advocates for a long time has been advocating for a change to the term "died by suicide" to combat the stigma around suicide and I sort of assumed that Marsha would know this given the population she works with. To have Marsha, a distinguished professional and expert in the field, perpetuating the stigmatizing language is damaging to the population she wants so passionately to help. It is also disconcerting that there are other therapists who have reviewed the book as great and have not pointed this out as problematic. In short, if you can get over the stigmatizing language the book is okay.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I have an endless amount of respect and appreciation for what Marsha Linehan has done for mental health and how much help she has provided to the world, but I feel at most I can rate this memoir a 3.5. Her life story is interesting and the information about DBT is engaging, but personally I did not enjoy the writing style or the layout of this memoir. The writing was extremely cliche, which I could have overlooked if not for how repetitive it was in nature. As for the layout, I enjoyed that the I have an endless amount of respect and appreciation for what Marsha Linehan has done for mental health and how much help she has provided to the world, but I feel at most I can rate this memoir a 3.5. Her life story is interesting and the information about DBT is engaging, but personally I did not enjoy the writing style or the layout of this memoir. The writing was extremely cliche, which I could have overlooked if not for how repetitive it was in nature. As for the layout, I enjoyed that the memoir was told in small sections but the jumping around in time made the chronology confusing (at least for me) and there were some areas where foreshadowing was used unnecessarily. I am glad I read Building A Life Worth Living and I would recommend it to others, but I am unlikely to ever read it again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This woman's treatment saved my life, and now I saw into hers Marsha Linehan is such an amazing person. I had known a little bit of her story before reading this book, like the fact she had been in a psychiatric hospital as a young adult. However, I wasn't prepared to experience as much suffering. Marsha truly "paid her dues" as a person who suffers from mental illness. As I read on about how she came about the skills for DBT, it was so organic to her life, it was poetry. I am a person who suffer This woman's treatment saved my life, and now I saw into hers Marsha Linehan is such an amazing person. I had known a little bit of her story before reading this book, like the fact she had been in a psychiatric hospital as a young adult. However, I wasn't prepared to experience as much suffering. Marsha truly "paid her dues" as a person who suffers from mental illness. As I read on about how she came about the skills for DBT, it was so organic to her life, it was poetry. I am a person who suffers from mental illness. I was on my way to a degree in psychology and then several life stressors uprooted my life. I have gone through DBT, and Marsha has been my hero ever since.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    Must-read for anyone in the mental healthcare sector. She explains the basis for DBT and her thinking behind it. It's quite helpful for a clinician. Must-read for anyone in the mental healthcare sector. She explains the basis for DBT and her thinking behind it. It's quite helpful for a clinician.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jen Loong

    Disclaimer: this book probably more relevant/enjoyable if you're someone who went through DBT, or has BPD, or studying to become a therapist, or find Marsha's journey personally inspiring for some intimate reasons. Otherwise, this book likely too triggering (frequent mention of suicide), too technical at times reading like a psychology textbook, and perhaps even too dramatic at times. I marvel at Marsha's ability to triumph personal tragedies, to then create the therapy method that cures mental h Disclaimer: this book probably more relevant/enjoyable if you're someone who went through DBT, or has BPD, or studying to become a therapist, or find Marsha's journey personally inspiring for some intimate reasons. Otherwise, this book likely too triggering (frequent mention of suicide), too technical at times reading like a psychology textbook, and perhaps even too dramatic at times. I marvel at Marsha's ability to triumph personal tragedies, to then create the therapy method that cures mental health disability like that she worked through. It brings more context to how DBT was developed as a methodology (12w therapeutic program to help those highly suicidal), and even more respect for all that Marsha has done for this community of mental health patients. What's a bit surprising to see was her relationship with spirituality vs. science as part of her journey to become one of the most important psychologists of our time. Also empowering to read about her commitment to God to live a life of poverty, to go back to hell to help those who endured the fire like she did. Thank you Marsha! Can we pls help you translate your work into Chinese for children of high-stress upbringing?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Upasna

    Marsha Linehan is a major figure in Psychiatry and an inspiration and this review is in no way a review of her life or her work, DBT. As a memoir, this was often boring to read. Many times I felt like I was reading a self help book. As someone whose outlook on life is completely different, it was a chore for me to read about her spiritual beliefs (Catholicism and Zen). As other reviewers have pointed out, I often lost track of which decade of her life I was reading about. Her single minded focus Marsha Linehan is a major figure in Psychiatry and an inspiration and this review is in no way a review of her life or her work, DBT. As a memoir, this was often boring to read. Many times I felt like I was reading a self help book. As someone whose outlook on life is completely different, it was a chore for me to read about her spiritual beliefs (Catholicism and Zen). As other reviewers have pointed out, I often lost track of which decade of her life I was reading about. Her single minded focus on working with suicide and the fact that she spent so much time in research before dealing with patients was really impressive. When she met with a council to obtain a grant for her therapy for suicidal patients, she was asked whether her therapy was meant for borderline patients. At that time, she had no idea what borderline meant. This was amusing for me as now her name is the first name that comes up when one thinks of treating borderline patients. Another interesting titbit was her meeting Otto Kernberg and her experience in his clinic. This was an interesting look at how DBT came to be and I wished I could have read more about her experiences with patients, however, large parts of the book were too dull for me to read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Younes

    Marsha linehan is the psychologist who created DBT, short for Dialectical Behavor Therapy, the worldwide used type of psychotherapy for highly suicidal people. Marsha herself was sent to a mental health center at the age of 17 where she was considered as the most severely ill patient for she was unruly, ready to burn her arms with cigarettes at any moment, to cut her arms and legs using any sharp object she could get her hands on. Despite her background, she was amazingly able to fulfill her vow Marsha linehan is the psychologist who created DBT, short for Dialectical Behavor Therapy, the worldwide used type of psychotherapy for highly suicidal people. Marsha herself was sent to a mental health center at the age of 17 where she was considered as the most severely ill patient for she was unruly, ready to burn her arms with cigarettes at any moment, to cut her arms and legs using any sharp object she could get her hands on. Despite her background, she was amazingly able to fulfill her vow to God, that is to help suicidal people get out of the hell they're living in. The takeaways from this autobiography are not just better understanding of people with borderline personality disorder and acknowledgement of some concepts in psychology but also a healthy mindset, and a better way of living.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Veilleux

    The story of how Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) came to be is definitely interesting, especially for a clinical psychologist like me. That said, I had a lot of judgments about the storytelling in the first third especially.... the memory lapses seemed odd and inconsistent (which I guess makes sense for memory?) and it seemed weird that she said she was popular and normal and just "descended into hell." Yet later it was clear there were precipitants. I just felt like some of the narrative was The story of how Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) came to be is definitely interesting, especially for a clinical psychologist like me. That said, I had a lot of judgments about the storytelling in the first third especially.... the memory lapses seemed odd and inconsistent (which I guess makes sense for memory?) and it seemed weird that she said she was popular and normal and just "descended into hell." Yet later it was clear there were precipitants. I just felt like some of the narrative was performative, and I hate saying that about anyone linked to BPD because "manipulative" is a term often overused for people with PBD symptoms that really reduces the pain they experience. I can say I really enjoyed the later parts about merging behavior therapy with zen practice.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wiegand

    A goodreads giveaway win that I was actually looking forward to reading. The book is an interesting one detailing the development of DBT thereapy for suicidal people who have borderline personality disorder. I enjoyed reading about the development of the most effective treatment for these conditions - especially since it is the true life story of someone who actually struggled with the disorder that developed the protocol. Her writing is a bit scattered - but the description of the process was f A goodreads giveaway win that I was actually looking forward to reading. The book is an interesting one detailing the development of DBT thereapy for suicidal people who have borderline personality disorder. I enjoyed reading about the development of the most effective treatment for these conditions - especially since it is the true life story of someone who actually struggled with the disorder that developed the protocol. Her writing is a bit scattered - but the description of the process was fascinating. I especially liked the fact that there were some helpful guides in the back of the book. Worth reading. I would have given it 4 stars - but the writing style was not comfortable for me to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ridgewood Public

    **Kerri's Review** I thought Marsha Linehan's memoir was touching and she gave a clear concrete examples of how her experience as a patient (which involved heavy medication, isolation and shock treatment) at the Institute for Living led her better her life so that she could help others with self-harm and sucidal ideations. Her research and studies helped her to create Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in the 80's and is being renowned and used in more of today's therapy programs. Very inspiring **Kerri's Review** I thought Marsha Linehan's memoir was touching and she gave a clear concrete examples of how her experience as a patient (which involved heavy medication, isolation and shock treatment) at the Institute for Living led her better her life so that she could help others with self-harm and sucidal ideations. Her research and studies helped her to create Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in the 80's and is being renowned and used in more of today's therapy programs. Very inspiring and I highly recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris C.

    I want everyone reading this to know that I tried so hard to get through this book and I just couldn't. Marsha has done incredible work helping people like me with DBT but she did not do incredible work in writing this book. It was like being hit in the face with constant facts. There was no real storytelling to it and I suffered. There is also a huge religious component to the book that makes me super uncomfortable. All in all, I cant suggest this book. The book's tagline should be, "Do DBT but I want everyone reading this to know that I tried so hard to get through this book and I just couldn't. Marsha has done incredible work helping people like me with DBT but she did not do incredible work in writing this book. It was like being hit in the face with constant facts. There was no real storytelling to it and I suffered. There is also a huge religious component to the book that makes me super uncomfortable. All in all, I cant suggest this book. The book's tagline should be, "Do DBT but dont read me." If you try, good luck to you mamsir.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Veronica Nealis

    This is a book for any woman clinician. It is about healing through practice. She experienced the pain her program was developed to treat. It is wonderful to read her journey of find her own life worth living. :) Amazing life that added to the psychological treatment resources. She developed this in a male dominate field. I have so much respect for her.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jean L.

    I have done DBT. It was extremely helpful for me. It changed my life for the better. I have been curious to learn more about the creator of DBT and how it came to be. I thought it was very interesting. I didn’t give it a five, because I thought it dragged on a little bit. I think it could have been condensed and you wouldn’t have missed out on the important stuff.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Millicent

    Excellent book! As a DBT therapist in training, I appreciated learning more about the background behind the treatment. I thought that Marsha's story was incredible and inspiring. I also thought that she described the DBT skills in easy to understand ways. Excellent book! As a DBT therapist in training, I appreciated learning more about the background behind the treatment. I thought that Marsha's story was incredible and inspiring. I also thought that she described the DBT skills in easy to understand ways.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jreader

    I have been a DBT therapist for about 15 years. One of my former coworkers was sent this book by the publisher to read and review. I sent the publisher an email and asked for a copy as well, citing trainings I had done as a participant and facilitator, reviews of books pertaining to DBT which I had read, and even included a photo of me with Marsha from a training in Seattle. The book came yesterday, I read it in one sitting and immediately purchased a copy through Amazon so I could loan it out. I I have been a DBT therapist for about 15 years. One of my former coworkers was sent this book by the publisher to read and review. I sent the publisher an email and asked for a copy as well, citing trainings I had done as a participant and facilitator, reviews of books pertaining to DBT which I had read, and even included a photo of me with Marsha from a training in Seattle. The book came yesterday, I read it in one sitting and immediately purchased a copy through Amazon so I could loan it out. I tried not to do my normal reading thing--make notes in pencil, annotate specific quotes in a small notebook, and make a list of other books to read--but resorted to this by page 75. I also was making apple butter with pecans so had wonderful aromas in the kitchen as well as a pot of strong coffee. Then, to make the mood absolutely perfect--had my Alexa speaker play Adele. I think Marsha would have enjoyed that. I have been fortunate to participate in trainings with Marsha and to have staffed clients with her. She used to have students from her intensive trainings over for dinner at her house. It was absolutely wonderful to walk around arm-in-arm with her and have her tell me kind thoughts and wish me well with my clients. That was really one of my life's highlights. Around 2012 I was doing a DBT group with adolescent girls. One 12 year old asked if possibly Marsha was 'one of us?' I asked her what she meant by that, why did she think so? And the child said it was because she seemed to know exactly what we had been through. I nodded and told them about the NY Times article and brought it in the following week. When I had met Marsha her arms still bore severe scarring. On page 176 Marsha talks about using occasional strategic helplessness--which had me laughing out loud. When my oldest daughter was 18, the car made a funny noise and we pulled off road. She asked how we would get some help? I knew this kid was going to be moving out and on her own and I suggested she pop the hood and look forlornly at the engine--said some man would be by in about 5 minutes to help us out. Yes. I did that even after having come up in the 70's and having been told no most of my life--I have used occasional strategic helplessness to my advantage. On page 272 there is a remarkable awareness of the misery shared by many borderline clients which Marsha identifies as being homesick. How poignant. What an apt description. There is a brilliant quote by Rainer Maria Rilke that should be on the wall of all DBT therapists, at least 4 other books I want to look up. Much of the information on skills and research was familiar to me. It was fun to go to the ISITDBT conference and see many of the DBT rock stars. Many DBT therapists are gifted trainers and have helped thousands of people over the course of their work. Marsha is a solid human being who has made the most of what was given to and made available to her. She is a remarkable human being. She loves her clients and her work. If the level of DBT experience and capability was identified by the seat number you were given at the world's largest stadium--I would probably be at home watching the event on TV. Still, Marsha makes everyone feel they have a seat at the head table. One last thing. I grew up in Connecticut and our mother was at the Institute of Living on several occasions--also in the 1960s into the early 1970s. While it was a renowned hospital, it was unpleasant. Shock treatments and cold packs were often the norm and no one spoke of mental illness. Marsha's development of biosocial theory and her path to wellness are earned. This book would be validating to persons with borderline personality disorder, their family members, therapists who provide DBT services, and especially those who may work with persons with borderline personality disorder who do not share the love of those suffering. Thank you, Marsha. We love you.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Rose

    This was a good memoir about Marsha and how she created DBT therapy. It helped me learn more about DBT overall as well as how the author used her own experiences to create it and help a lot of people. I would reccomend this book to anyone who is considering DBT therapy or just beginning it. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.

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