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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Dialectics are a cornerstone of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT; Linehan, 1993), and are considered an essential component of treating emotion dysregulation. Incorporating dialectics may enhance therapeutic collaboration, increase flexible thinking, and maximize solution generation. This chapter briefly describes a dialectical world view, then lays out steps for incorporating dialectics into a therapy session, including adopting a dialectical world view, maintaining balance in treatment, working toward synthesis whenever polarization occurs, and utilizing dialectical strategies. Dialectical strategies are any strategies that involve looking for what is left out, synthesizing two poles, and allowing the synthesis to move the interaction forward to a new position. These strategies include magnifying the tension between opposites (such as devil’s advocate and extending strategies), entering the paradox (such as ‘and versus but’ and ‘making lemonade out of lemons’ strategies), and the use of metaphors. While these strategies were developed within DBT, other treatments utilize dialectical approaches, as well.

Keywords: DBT, dialectics, polarization, synthesis, world view, strategies, extending, devil’s advocate, metaphor, dysregulation

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