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While traditional DBT has proven to be beneficial for individuals with eating disorders, a new form of DBT has recently emerged, with promising results for treating adolescents with restrictive eating disorders. Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO-DBT), developed by Thomas Lynch and colleagues, is an evidence-based treatment targeting individuals with excessive emotional over-control. Supported by 20 years of research and clinical experience, RO-DBT is now being used to treat adolescents with eating disorders.

Teens and young adults with restrictive eating disorders often exhibit excessive self-control or overcontrol. They tend to be serious about life, set high personal standards, work hard, behave appropriately, and frequently sacrifice personal needs to achieve desired goals or to help others. While these characteristics are not inherently bad or harmful, they may be masking emotional pain and underlying stress. When self-control is used as a coping style, it can become excessive and harmful, leading to social isolation and poor interpersonal relations.

Lynch and colleagues contend that overcontrol (rather than the eating disorder symptoms themselves) is the main problem and that if the overcontrol coping style is targeted and addressed, the eating disorder symptoms will begin to improve. RO-DBT helps to replace restrictive behaviors with a biologically-based approach to therapeutic skills. By focusing on the neuroregulatory system, teens and youth will learn to increase flexibility and connectedness as well as address the behaviors associated with overcontrol.


Prior to registering for our group skills class, a 1.5hr assessment is required. The assessment will determine suitability for the skills group. In particular, it will examine a person’s tendency to be over-controlled vs under-controlled. Treatment consists of individual therapy in addition to a 24-week skills group.


During the skills classes, you will be joining up to nine other members, via a weekly Zoom session, to engage in a group-oriented education process to develop new skills, tailored to support you. Each session will be run by two facilitators and are weekly classes for a period of 24 weeks (divided into 8-week blocks). Our next course is starting in the fall of 2023! 

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