Opening the Door to DBT

Recovery Unscripted banner image for episode 48

Episode #48 | January 16, 2018

Featured Guest: Dr. Eboni Webb

Today, we hear from Dr. Eboni Webb, an internationally renowned trainer in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. In addition to developing two specialized DBT programs for clients with developmental disabilities and borderline-intellectual functioning, she has also opened a private practice offering diverse DBT specializations. She sat down with Foundations Chief Marketing Officer Lee Pepper at the Recovery Results conference in Dallas to discuss the role that mindfulness plays in overall mental health and how therapists can help make DBT more accessible to everyone.

Podcast Transcript

David Condos: Hello and welcome to another episode of Recovery Unscripted, a podcast powered by Foundations Recovery Network. I’m David Condos. Today we hear from Dr. Eboni Webb, an internationally renowned trainer in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. In addition to developing two specialized DBT programs for clients with developmental disabilities and borderline intellectual functioning, she’s also opened a private practice offering diverse DBT specializations.

She sat down with Foundation’s chief marketing officer, Lee Pepper, at the Recovery Results conference in Dallas to discuss the role that mindfulness plays in overall mental health and how therapists can help make DBT more accessible to everyone.

Now, here’s Lee and Eboni.

Lee Pepper: It’s my pleasure to welcome Dr. Eboni Webb to our 51st conference here in Dallas, Recovery Results. Thank you so much for opening our conference with your keynote this morning.

Dr. Webb: Thank you for having me. It was wonderful.

Lee: Yes, we try to do these sessions, so that we can give our audience who couldn’t make to the conference, just a little taste of each of the keynotes presentations this morning. So, I wanted to start off — You started off with mindful waking of the body this morning and I was so appreciative, and the technique that you demonstrated that the audience and went through. It was so meaningful, reminded me of the time, that my wife was going through birthing classes they had the men hold ice for a really long time to try to give you the sensation. I thought that was really smart and I thank you for doing that for the audience.

Dr. Webb: Yes, absolutely. We have our wonderful brain that allows us to be in our body and not to be in our body. So, we kind of autopilot, so just using touch can just bring you back and you can be aware of, “Oh man, I have some aches and pains.” As well as, “Wow, it feels really good to be here.”

Lee: Do you find when you’re working with your patients, that helps to almost prove a point, like you have to almost start that opening sequence with them to give them some proof of concept in a way?

Dr. Webb: Yes, we have to do the conscious awareness. There’s so many of my clients I can bring attention to, ‘Do you know when we’re talking about this you’re tapping your foot and node.’ ‘No.” Literally bringing their attention to their body, and so yes, that is always the entry point, as well as why DBT requires the beginning of all sessions with mindfulness.

Lee: Dr. Webb, when I think about DBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, it has this sometimes this presence where it becomes almost like unattainable. Mindfulness is that way to kind of doubt that opening?

Dr. Webb: Right, Yes. It really is just becoming aware of right now. That’s right. So you don’t have to learn special techniques or even doing a long meditation. It’s just noticing what’s happening to you right now.

Lee: I think that your presentation made it so accessible. I think that’s something I’ve appreciated and hearing, Lane Peterson and Marsha Linehan over a year speak and you are definitely continuing on that accessibility with DBT.

Dr. Webb: Right. I mean the therapy that works as a therapy that the client can understand and implement. So, it needs to be approachable and accessible. It has to be practical.

Lee: There was a quote that you said, that I wrote down in talking about emotion. Your quote was that, more like a poster, in reference to the post office. “Emotion is to give you a message not to take you on a ride.” I wrote that down, so I thought that was so important.

Dr. Webb: Yes, I wish I could give a direct quote or give credit to the person who said that, but it’s just been floating in the ether. But that’s right, emotions are our messengers, but they’re not great navigators. So, we need to get the message and then figure out what we need to do with what our emotions are telling us. But not necessarily like, “Oh, let’s go down and see what happens on the other side of that cliff.”

Lee: When I think about the states of mind, in your presentation you talked about. I wanted to know if you would make a few comments about the state of mind. You started with the emotional mind and then the reason, and then how that combines into the-

Dr. Webb: Right, so when we talk about the states of mind, we recognize that our mind has this emotional, intense, creative process and then we have this very logical side that allows us to problem-solving, to think pragmatically. But by themselves those states are inadequate. So, they have to come together, and in coming together they balance each other out and that’s how our wisdom arises. So, wisdom is where I can access my emotions and my logic at the same time.

Lee: Then how does that then flow into the addiction mind and the clean mind?

Dr. Webb: Right, the addiction mind I would say is comparison to the emotion mind, but at the same time it’s where all the survival resources are. So, we have to balance that though with being clean, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough just to be clean, because those survival resources that addict mind is still there. So, we have to put it in balance and so that’s where clarity is, in that clear mind, so that we know when to use our survival resources, but to use them with clean resources, versus substance use.

Lee: You also started off your talk with a study. It was the first time I’ve ever heard a water flea reference-

Dr. Webb: Water flea. Yes.

Lee: -in a clinical presentation. It was such an enlightening piece in talking about trauma especially before birth. I wonder if you would just share a little bit about that.

Dr. Webb: Yes, so really the water flea study is about how all organisms on this planet adapt for threat. So, with that then we think about our pregnant water fleas, if they’re attacked, their babies will hatch with helmets or shells around their head to protect themselves. If not then that doesn’t happen. We know human beings have similar adaptations.

If a mother was nutritionally deprived, her babies will be born with their genes activated for obesity. So, it’s like whatever we’re going to take in, we’ve got it stored as fat and if there’s been a lot of emotional dis-regulation in the mother then the baby is going to be wired, because they’ve got to attach to mom. So, they are already preparing in their brain for a heightened emotional response, so it’s into adaptation.

Lee: What’s next up for Dr. Webb? Where will we be seeing or hearing about you? How can we get in touch? I know we can probably Google you and come to Nashville and see your practice Village of Kairos.

Dr. Webb: Yes, I mean definitely the next step is, I need to start working on a book. Also in the new year, really we’re working on some webinars. I’m actually going to be doing a 12-week webinar breaking down DBT even more and also a 6-week one for working with at-risk youth. So, definitely visiting my website, and connecting with me because I love to get people on mailing lists, so that we can continue to stay in contact.

Lee: Great. Well, thank you so much for coming to Dallas today and I’m so glad and honored to meet you. I’m so glad you’re just a great voice for DBT.

Dr. Webb: Well, thank you so much for having me.

Lee: Thank you.

David: Thanks again to Dr. Webb for joining us. Now, I get to welcome Will Hart from the Life Challenge team. He joins us each month to give us an update from their community, which is the aftercare support network for those who have gone through foundation’s treatment programs and anyone else up for accepting the challenge of living life in recovery. Last month’s challenge was to create a list of things you want to accomplish in this new year. Now, Will is back to share the new challenge for this month. So welcome Will.

Will: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

David: All right man. Yes, how you are doing in this new year?

Will: I’m good so far, been bit cold but this is just part of it.

David: Part of the deal. Cool, what have you got for us this month?

Will: This month we’re going to do choose a word to live by this year. This idea came from my boss, the manager of the Life Challenge team, her name is Sabrina. She does it every year, chooses a word and tries to use that as her motivation moving forward in the year.

David: Nice, man. Kind of your own mission statement, your own mantra for the year. I like it. So, what are some examples?

Will: Some examples I came up with were: Fearless — moving forward in your recovery or whatever you are dealing with. Determined — Just determined to accomplish what you set out to do this year.

David: Yes. Follow through.

Will: Optimistic — Just an optimistic view of the year moving forward.

David: Yes. Starting fresh and seeing the possibilities as opposed to the negatives. As always, they can share this on your website, right?

Will: Yes. We love to hear from you.

David: All right, man. Thank you for your time.

Will: Yes, thank you.

David: This has been the Recovery Unscripted podcast. Today we’ve heard from Eboni Webb of The Village of Kairos. To learn more about her work, visit

Thank you for listening today, if you like what you hear, please leave us a rating on your podcast app. We’d love to hear what you think. See you next time.

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