recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Marvin Lew, psychologist, professor and author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adults who have Intellectual Disability a chapter in Psychotherapy for Individuals with Intellectual Disability some questions about using Dialectical Behavior Therapy strategies with people who have intellectual disabilities. I’m happy to share with you, today, his experience.
Christy: You worked with people with intellectual disabilities for a number of years. What problems did you see that made you consider dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for this group?
Marvin: This is true. I worked with people who have intellectual disabilities (ID) for fifteen years. I supervised many clinicians during that time and there was often a feeling that some individuals had so many complications in their lives that they may never get better. Sometimes it was felt that 10% of our case-load required 90% of our time.
Such individuals were challenges to their families, clinicians, and care providers. They had frequent difficulties with other people, had more than their share of community struggles such as loss of jobs, loss of housing, etc… and were often the genesis of burnout symptoms among their care providers. I’m sure I was not the only clinical supervisor who cringed at the sight of difficult to serve clients who had both ID and emotion regulation problems.