In his first public appearance since being traded to the Bears, Brandon Marshall naturally thanked the McCaskeys, coach Lovie Smith, former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, former Dolphins teammates, his agent, his attorney, his wife and Marsha Linehan.
"She's one of the pioneers for the therapies for borderline personality disorder (BPD) known as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) that allows individuals to understand their emotions to control themselves as far as regulating them,'' Marshall said.
Without the treatment Linehan developed and Marshall underwent in the summer after being diagnosed with BPD at McLean Hospital outside Boston, he doubts he could face the future optimistically.
"I very much admire him for what he's doing and wish him well,'' said Linehan, a therapist and researcher at the University of Washington who also has been diagnosed with BPD. "Brandon is such a good role model. It is powerful and wonderful he's doing it. The most important thing he's standing up and telling people, 'I can change, so can you.' ''
Linehan, 68, explained what she called "the gold standard of treatment.''
"The reason it's called dialectical is it brings the synthesis of opposites,'' she said. "It primarily synthesizes the concept of radical acceptance with change. If you radically accept things you can also change them. It is a skill, like emotion regulation and mindfulness. Stress tolerance has two sets: How do you get through a crisis without making things worse and how do you radically accept a situation that isn't what you want?''
A Chicago connection: Linehan earned her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Loyola, where she made a transformational breakthrough in the area of radical acceptance. Marshall's grasp of terminology and methodology suggested to Linehan that he got the most out of his time at the McLean Hospital.
"Learning new behavior is no different than learning football drills they do,'' Linehan said. "You practice, practice, practice and I'm sure that's what he did because I know the DBT program at McLean.''
Can a patient with Marshall's troubled past really alter his behavior in the midst of professional upheaval?
"Change could be difficult for him," she said. "However, change with a lot of support and validation and serious work on doing his skills ought to get him through it. Whatever set off anger in the past probably will set it off in the future, but now he is skillful at dealing with it. I would say he's going to avoid it in the future because he has new skills.''Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times