Ryan Armstrong
Change management. Learning. Maps.

Reading new book on DBT Skills and link to change management

11 July 2019

My parents are psychiatrists. The more I research theories of action and how an organization might truly create an environment that supports positive learning, the more apparent it seems that most workplaces are abhorrently deficient in skills required to bring these about, unsupportive or even aggressively opposed to efforts at positive change, and often downright traumatic places to be. With that in mind, I increasingly turn to my parents and their friends and colleagues for ways to intervene effectively as a (potential) agent of harmony and change.

Enter their latest recommendation, Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Manual1. DBT is for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

Here is an excerpt and some thoughts:

Dialectical perspectives on the nature of reality and human behavior share three primary characteristics. First, much as dynamic systems perspectives do, dialectics stresses the fundamental interrelatedness or wholeness of reality. This means that a dialectical approach views analysis of individual parts as of limited value unless the analysis clearly relates the parts to the whole.

Thoughts right now: Excellent. So many times organizational literature takes a too narrow view. Happy for the obvious potential link to Dialectical Critical Realism and pondering how I could squeeze this in to my upcoming talk.

With respect to skills training, a therapist must take into account first the interrelatedness of skills deficits. Learning one new set of skills is extremely difficult without learning other related skills simultaneously--a task that is even more difficult.

Thoughts right now: Thrilled to see this recognized and beaming because later in the chapter Linehan presents more than a dozen ways to actually design a training program.

The first of these polarities is the dialectic between the need for clients to accept themselves as they are in the moment and the need for them to change.

Thoughts right now: What I do should probably be called ‘Acceptance and change management’ but it seems like too much of a mouthful.

  1. Linehan, M. 2015. DBT Skills Training Manual, 2nd Edition. The Guilford Press, New York. Quotes are from pages 4 to 5. ↩︎