A few people have asked me how my workshop differs from others out there. I love to meet informed persons who research the options that are available for families who have a member with symptoms of BPD and I am happy to share my story here!
This workshop was initially developed by myself and my friend and colleague, Carola Pechon, beginning in 2006 when I was living and working in Argentina.
It was based on our training and experience in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and my own lived experience of having emotionally dysregulated loved ones. I had done professional studies with Marsha Linehan (creator of DBT) and did many retreats with her as my Zen teacher.
In addition, I traveled to many countries in South America to teach this program to professionals so that they could share it with their clients. After a few years we published research in the Argentine Journal of Psychiatry that showed this program reduced "caretaker burnout” among family members.
I was also developing and teaching many courses on Mindfulness oriented to the general public as well as professionals in mental health.
I conducted and published research on my signature program, "Power Mindfulness," which included a substantial number of DBT skills in addition to a cross-section of the most powerful mindfulness practices I had encountered over years of international travel and training. A few real gems that I picked up from other contemplative and psychology practices have been slipped into the DBT Family Workshop.
Throughout all my years of teaching and professional training, I have been continuously polishing the DBT Family Workshop. Among other things, I added a component on self-compassion, elements from updated research on emotions, newly published research on recovery from BPD, and personal stories of Marsha Linehan. In 2019, I published my book, Genuine Validation. Then during COVID in 2020, I moved back to the US, translated all the material into English, (my native language) and everything went online. Randi Kreger discovered my work and she invited me to bring the online program to the international readers and fans of Stop Walking on Eggshells.
Videoconferencing offers both challenges and opportunities to improve participation and experiential learning. Separating participants in and out of smaller groups and dyads, asking questions of each participant, and having innumerable examples that illustrate the principles and skills are all key to the learning process. Many of the slides are memorable works of art that teach visually. I also make myself available for responding to questions and reviewing homework assignments in detail via email. Some participants also do a monthly individual session during the workshop or before and after to really bring everything home and make sure they are understanding and applying the skills appropriately and responding as effectively as possible to their loved one.
I have taught these skills to thousands of family members in group workshops and one-on-one. I have had tons of incredibly positive feedback from the vast majority of participants. Many got their loved ones into treatment as a result of the workshop (including treatment which I helped them to identify in their local area). Others found more peace and less conflict even if their family members never did any therapy. Some found that this workshop, together with a few additional individual sessions with me, made a bigger difference in their lives than many, many years of therapy ever did.
DBT may seem like a relatively expensive therapy because of the skills training component and the intensive training and supervision that is required. My goal for this workshop is to be able to reach as many people as possible, as affordably as possible. I want families to have resources left for their loved ones to do adherent DBT with trained clinical professionals if its available and if their loved one is open to it. The value of this workshop is far more than the $35 per class we are currently charging. This is a social and emotional intelligence program par excellence and that alone is life-changing.
If you love a person with symptoms of borderline personality disorder and you are scared, angry, confused, or exhausted, you will find this workshop to be priceless. Our next 12-week Family DBT Workshop starts Friday, Feb 10 at 9 a.m. PT, 12 noon ET, and 5 p.m. UK time.