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Neely Quinn interviews pro rock climbers, climbing trainers, and other insightful members of the climbing community about how we can get a little better at rock climbing. Subjects include how to train for certain aspects of the sport, how to rehab injuries, the best diet for climbing, and personal stories about climbing.

Feb 1, 2023

This episode is one of the most meaningful episodes I’ve ever done, and I’ll tell you why in a sec. In it, I talked with psychologist Dr. Jennifer Dragonette about DBT, which stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, for a whopping hour and a half!

DBT is a set of psychological tools developed by Marsha Linehan to help people truly process and deal with emotion dysregulation, interpersonal conflict, and the everyday issues of daily life. DBT is very important in my own life because it’s what lifted me out of my most recent major depressive episode in 2017 and has helped me have way lower levels of anxiety and depression than I ever have before.

It helped save my life, to be honest. So when Dr. Jen contacted me to be on the show to talk about how DBT can help climbers, it was a full-body yes from me. I’ve incorporated DBT into my own climbing, and I’ve seen the incredible results it can produce in every part of life.

Dr. Jen does an excellent job of explaining some of her favorite DBT tools and how they can be used in climbing for things like:

  • fear of falling
  • knowing how you want to proceed when you’re having a bad day climbing
  • managing the urge to grab a draw, say take, give up, or not take enough rest
  • communicating effectively with your partners or spotters about what you want from them
  • how to allow our emotions to flow through us and out of us so we can move on

I also go into some very personal details about how some OCD tendencies played out in my life to contribute to severe anxiety and how DBT helped me stop the OCD behaviors. As well as how I’ve been using DBT tools to help overcome body image issues.

As a climber and a psychologist, Dr. Jen has such a deep understanding of how these tools apply to climbing that you’ll hopefully feel confident using them in your very next climbing session. She’s clearly very adept at teaching DBT, and I enjoyed every moment of this conversation 🙂

Show Links

  • Dr. Jen’s website:
  • Some basics about DBT and workseets:
  • The program I did in Boulder, CO was the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Outpatient Program at BCH