top of page

Dialectical Failure 2

Updated: May 15, 2021

What would dialectical failure look like in personality?

Disturbance of sense of self is one of the clinical impressions that we receive from many of the clients who seek DBT. To the people around them, it may demonstrate as ambivalent expression of self, or inconsistent demonstration of thoughts, mood, wishes and behaviors (i.e. personality traits.) In a traditional sense, sense of self or personality was considered as something unique about you and somewhat stable throughout life, and characteristics that draws boundary between everyone else and you. Dialectical world view has somewhat different take on these.

Firstly, the dialectical world view posits that change is the only constant. It views individuals as fluid systems that are in constant contact with other fluid systems. As such, both the sense of self and personality can change; in fact, they cannot resist changes over time. This is the foundation of the therapy. “I will never change. I’m so difficult. I’m a mess,” our clients might say, “because it is my personality.” We know that is how they feel, AND we know that their view of self has a good chance to change.

Secondly, individual sense of self or personality is relational to who you are with and where you are at any given time. In good moments, we can use this ability to adjust our behaviors effectively. This same ability becomes problematic when individuals only use the feedback from the environment to decide what they should think and feel, and how they should act. In individuals with borderline personality traits demonstrate well-adapted behaviors in one environment (such as work) and totally dysregulated behaviors in another environment (such as in romantic relationship). .

Finally, not being able to hold on to the relational experiences means that individuals tend to live in “either-or” world in which they perceive an isolated incident as something universal. Once you are told not good in something, you are bad in everything. If one person gets hurt by what you said, you are unlikable. Smallest character that you don’t like about yourself feels like how the whole world looks at you. A part becomes the whole.

The dialectical failure is the polarization between not being able to and not willing to change how you operate on the one hand, and believing having to change yourself at all cost to be accepted on the other hand. In DBT, we want to tolerate these opposing ideas of constant self and changing self as both true, to learn not to get stuck in rigid and polarized idea about self, and to gain the confidence to choose one’s behavior in ever changing environment.







#DBT#dialectical behavior therapy#弁証法的行動療法#Personlity#パーソナリティ#Borderline Personality Disorder#境界性人格障害

72 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Accepting reality as it is

What is Acceptance? What is acceptance? I struggled (and I still do) with the idea. I am a DBT therapist. DBT teaches acceptance. And I don’t fully understand acceptance. I am still far from realizi

Dialectical Failure 1

What would dialectical failure look like in real life? 1 Let's say someone asked you which of the pairs (A or B) below is right. A: Cheese is good for your health because it is dairy.


bottom of page