Keynote: “Social Signalling Matters: The Key Mechanism of Change in Radically Open-DBT”
In comparison to many other animal species, humans are physically frail (e.g., we lack fangs, claws, and thick skins)—suggesting that our evolutionary success depended on something more than individual strength, speed, or toughness. We survived because we developed capacities to work together in tribes and share valuable resources with other members of our tribe who were not in our immediate nuclear family. This required finding a means to ‘signal cooperation’ and ‘bind’ genetically unrelated individuals together in such a way that survival of the tribe could override older ‘selfish’ response tendencies linked to survival of the individual.
The aim of this talk is to provide a brief overview of some of the theoretical foundations underlying a new transdiagnostic treatment approach for disorders of overcontrol –known as Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) including a novel thesis linking the communicative functions of emotional expression to the formation of close social bonds. RO DBT is evidence based and supported by 25+ years of translational research, including three Randomized Controlled Trials for refractory depression and overcontrolled personality disorders—funded by NIMH (US) and NIHR-EME (UK), three open-trials (pre-post) for adults and adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa, and one non-Randomized Controlled Trial for adults with chronic overcontrolled personality dysfunction (Chen et al., 2014; Keogh, et al., 2015; Lynch et al., 2003; 2007; 2019; Simic et al., 2017).