Today’s interview is with Dr. Adam Payne, one of the founding partners of CCDBT. Dr. Payne is also a DBT trainer with Behavioral Tech, LLC. Let’s get to know him!

How long have you been practicing DBT?

DBT has been a part of my life since 1999. Back in 1999, I was intensively trained by Behavioral Tech, LLC at Butler Hospital in Rhode Island. There were seven other teams who got trained at the same time. This coming September will be 20 years since that initial DBT training! We were one of the first teams to develop a DBT program for adolescents and families.

The first DBT books were published in 1993, so DBT was not even 10 years old at the time when I first received my DBT Training. DBT was going through its first real surge of interest among clinicians. I was fortunate enough to get connected to the director of training at Behavioral Tech, LLC who was looking for new trainers to bring DBT teaching to clinicians who would be able to teach about DBT with adolescents and their families. So I have also been a trainer for Behavioral Tech since 2002, having done my best in those first few years to learn everything I could about DBT and grow a Family DBT program from the ground up. It’s been quite a ride.

What do you think makes DBT such a unique and effective treatment?

Marsha Linehan often talks about the fact that DBT is a combination of many different parts that all existed before she started creating DBT. And while she is correct that all these different parts did exist before DBT, (like mindfulness, exposure therapy, cognitive restructuring, certain skills), I think she is not giving herself enough credit. It is exactly how she put it all together that makes DBT special. Because there are different ways to view change in DBT, DBT has the ability to be flexible enough to meet so many different people‘s needs. So to me the flexibility of DBT is what really makes it special.

What’s your favorite DBT skill?

My favorite DBT skills have to be the mindfulness skills. I often talk about mindfulness as a multifaceted jewel. Just like a jewel, if you look at a jewel set in a ring, as you look at it from different angles, it can sparkle so differently. And yet there are so many sparkles! By helping connect us to our emotions, mindfulness helps us to pause before we react in an impulsive way. It is Marsha Linehan’s answer to helping people to slow down and have choices before they act. But mindfulness is also the idea that through greater awareness and focus, we can get a more full experience out of each and every moment. Mindfulness is the antidote to autopilot and the antidote to walking through life as if in a fog. If we are our most mindful, we can live life to the fullest! So I guess I like mindfulness because it can help me, and indeed everyone, to feel more in control of the choices and actions in life, and to help us all to have better connections to each and every moment.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Fun fact – I have been to almost all countries in Central America. Costa Rica and Belize are my two most favorite places to visit. The combination of the beauty of nature, the warmth of the people, and the adventures of both the oceans and jungles make Central America a special place for me.

When you’re not at work, what do you like to do for fun?

What I think I best like to do for fun is to get out into nature. My family likes to hike and go camping, whether by the beach or on the top of a mountain. Sometimes we ski down those same mountains, but more recently it has been quite a lot of hiking that has called to us.