So What Does ‘Dialectical’ Mean?

It’s a great question.

Here’s my answer:

Dialectical refers to the search for truth by examining the two or more opposites sides of life.

While it may be more ‘easy’ to wish that some ideal is always good and that some ‘bad’ thing is always ‘bad’, we all know that such ‘easy’ living is not possible.

We encounter conflicts from the moment we open our eyes. Here are some of my ‘favorites’ dialectical conflicts:

We all want to tell the truth but we also (usually) don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings.

We all want to enjoy this moment but we also realize that we face serious demands in the future.

We all want to act out of the deepest compassion but we also don’t want to give away ourselves and our possessions.

Our ability to live lives of joy in the company of others require that we find a way to walk in between what are total opposite ideals.

That’s called dialectical living.

When we can live comfortably and honestly balanced between opposite poles then our lives are full of truth and beauty.

For many reasons, individuals suffering from depression, anxieties, the terrible stresses of physical illness, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, and addictions have difficulties finding their way in between the opposites of life. They get stuck on one side, knowing that balance is needed but not knowing how to ‘get there’.

Dialectical behavioral therapy helps individuals achieve balance and wholeness in their lives.

And that’s a beautiful thing.