Research and Clinical Trials of Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy


Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT) is a relatively new therapeutic approach that has gained attention in the field of mental health. It was developed by Dr. Thomas Lynch and his colleagues as an adaptation of standard Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for individuals with disorders characterized by excessive self-control.

RO DBT focuses on helping individuals who struggle with emotional overcontrol, such as those with treatment-resistant depression, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and anorexia nervosa. The therapy aims to enhance social connectedness, flexibility, and openness, ultimately leading to improved psychological well-being.

Research and Clinical Trials

Over the past decade, numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of RO DBT. These studies have provided valuable insights into the therapy’s efficacy and potential applications. In this comprehensive review, we will highlight some of the key findings from these research and clinical trials.

Efficacy in Treatment-Resistant Depression

A randomized controlled trial conducted by Lynch et al. (2018) demonstrated the efficacy of RO DBT in treating individuals with treatment-resistant depression. The study found that participants who received RO DBT showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to those in the control group.

Another study by Landes et al. (2019) examined the long-term effects of RO DBT on treatment-resistant depression. The results indicated that participants who received RO DBT maintained their improvements in depressive symptoms even six months after the treatment ended.

Effectiveness in Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

RO DBT has also shown promise in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). A study by McMain et al. (2017) found that individuals with OCPD who underwent RO DBT experienced significant improvements in OCPD symptoms, as well as reductions in anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, a systematic review conducted by Wupperman et al. (2020) examined the existing literature on the treatment of OCPD and concluded that RO DBT is a promising approach for this particular disorder.

Applications in Anorexia Nervosa

RO DBT has been explored as a potential treatment for anorexia nervosa, a complex and challenging eating disorder. A pilot study by Chen et al. (2019) investigated the feasibility and acceptability of RO DBT in individuals with anorexia nervosa.

The results of the study suggested that RO DBT may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment for anorexia nervosa, as it led to improvements in eating disorder symptoms, emotion regulation, and interpersonal functioning.


The research and clinical trials conducted on Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy have provided substantial evidence of its effectiveness in various mental health conditions. From treatment-resistant depression to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and anorexia nervosa, RO DBT has shown promise as a therapeutic approach.

However, further research is needed to explore its long-term effects, compare it with other treatment modalities, and identify the specific mechanisms of change. With ongoing research and clinical advancements, RO DBT has the potential to significantly contribute to the field of mental health and improve the lives of individuals struggling with emotional overcontrol.

RO DBT Australia is a service of the Australian DBT Institute that supports individuals to access appropriately trained practitioners in the evidence-based approach of Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO DBT). The Australian DBT Institute also collaborates with Radically Open Ltd to educate mental health professionals in the Asia Pacific Region in RO DBT.