Thomas R. Lynch

Last updated
Thomas R. Lynch
Born1956 (age 6263)
Decatur, Illinois, United States
Alma mater Arizona State University, Kent State University
OccupationCreator of Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy, psychologist, professor, author, artist

Thomas R. Lynch (born 1956) is an American psychologist, author, and treatment developer of radically open dialectical behavior therapy [1] (RO DBT), a type of psychotherapy that targets disorders characterized by excessive self-control (e.g., chronic depression, anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder). He is an Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton in Southampton, United Kingdom.

Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. As an executive function, self-control is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one's behavior in order to achieve specific goals.

Anorexia nervosa Eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, and fear of gaining weight due to a distorted self image

Anorexia nervosa, often referred to simply as anorexia, is an eating disorder, characterized by low weight, food restriction, fear of gaining weight, and a strong desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are, in fact, underweight. They often deny that they have a problem with low weight. They weigh themselves frequently, eat small amounts, and only eat certain foods. Some exercise excessively, force themselves to vomit, or use laxatives to produce weight loss. Complications may include osteoporosis, infertility, and heart damage, among others. Women will often stop having menstrual periods.

University of Southampton research university located in Southampton, United Kingdom

The University of Southampton is a research university in Southampton, England. The university's origins date back to the founding of the Hartley Institution in 1862. In 1902, the Institution developed into the Hartley University College, awarding degrees from the University of London. On 29 April 1952, the institution was granted full university status, allowing it to award its own degrees.


Early life and education

Thomas Lynch was born in 1956 in Decatur, Illinois. He attended University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1975, where he initially majored in fine arts (drawing/painting) and pre-medicine. Lynch transferred to Arizona State University Tempe campus, where he completed his B.S. in Nursing and MS in Psychiatric Nursing (1988), interning at the Gestalt Therapy Institute in Phoenix, AZ. He received his PhD in clinical psychology at Kent State University in 1996 and completed postdoctoral training at Duke University.

Decatur, Illinois City in Illinois, United States

Decatur is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 76,122 as of the 2010 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. Decatur's estimated population for 2018 was 71,290.

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign public research university in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, United States

The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a public research university in Illinois and the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, its campus is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana.

Arizona State University Tempe campus is a campus of Arizona State University, a public research university with its main campus in Phoenix, Arizona. It is the largest of the four campuses that comprise the university. The campus lies in the heart of Tempe, Arizona, about eight miles (13 km) east of downtown Phoenix. The campus is considered urban, and is approximately 642 acres (2.6 km2) in size. ASU's Tempe campus is arranged around broad pedestrian malls and is completely encompassed by an arboretum. ASU has an extensive public art collection, considered one of the ten best among university public art collections in the United States. Against the northwest edge of campus is the Mill Avenue district which has a college atmosphere that attracts many students to its restaurants and bars. ASU's Tempe Campus is also home to all of the university's athletic facilities.


From 1998 to 2007, Lynch was a member of the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Duke University, where he was the Director of the Duke Cognitive Behavioral Research and Treatment Program.[ citation needed ] In 2007, Lynch relocated to Exeter University, and shortly thereafter was appointed Professor of Clinical Psychology.[ citation needed ] In 2011, he relocated to the University of Southampton, where he served as the Director of the Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory until 2017. He was the Chief Investigator of a multi-center randomized controlled trial funded by the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation program and Medical Research Council—Project REFRAMEd—REFRactory: Mechanisms and Effectiveness of Radically Open-Dialectical Behavior Therapy. [2]

Medical Research Council (United Kingdom) institution responsible for co-ordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is responsible for co-coordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom. It is part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI), which came into operation 1 April 2018, and brings together the UK's seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. UK Research and Innovation is answerable to, although politically independent from, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


Lynch has published the treatment manuals Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Theory and Practice for Treating Disorders of Overcontrol and The Skills Training Manual for Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Clinician’s Guide for Treating Disorders of Overcontrol. [3] [4]

Related Research Articles

Dialectical behavior therapy evidence-based psychotherapy designed to help people with emotional dysregulation such as in borderline personality disorder

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat borderline personality disorder. DBT has been proven useful in treating mood disorders, suicidal ideation, and for change in behavioral patterns such as self-harm, and substance abuse. DBT evolved into process in which the therapist and client work with acceptance and change-oriented strategies, and ultimately balance and synthesize them, in a manner comparable to the philosophical dialectical process of hypothesis and antithesis, followed by synthesis.

Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory, and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment, clinical formulation, and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession.

Covert conditioning is an approach to mental health treatment that uses the principles of applied behavior analysis, or cognitive-behavior therapies (CBTs) to assist people in making improvements in their behavior or inner experience. The method relies on the person's capacity to use imagery for purposes such as mental rehearsal. In some populations, it has been found that an imaginary reward can be as effective as a real one. Effective covert conditioning is said to rely upon careful application of behavioral treatment principles such as a thorough behavioral analysis.

Marsha M. Linehan is an American psychologist and author. She is the creator of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a type of psychotherapy that combines behavioral science with Buddhist concepts like acceptance and mindfulness.

Therapy interfering behaviors or "TIBs" are, according to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), things that get in the way of therapy. These are behaviors of either the patient or the therapist. More obvious examples include being late to session, not completing homework, cancelling sessions, and forgetting to pay. More subtle examples can include sobbing uncontrollably, venting, criticizing the therapist, threatening to quit therapy, shutting down, yelling, only reporting negative information, saying "I don't know" repeatedly, and pushing the therapist's limits. Behaviors that "burn out the therapist" are included, and thus, vary from therapist to therapist. These behaviors can occur in session, group, between sessions, and on the phone.

Behavioral activation (BA) is a third generation behavior therapy for treating depression. It is one of many functional analytic psychotherapies which are based on a Skinnerian psychological model of behavior change, generally referred to as applied behavior analysis. This area is also a part of what is called clinical behavior analysis (CBA) and makes up one of the most effective practices in the professional practice of behavior analysis.

Transference focused psychotherapy (TFP) is a highly structured, twice-weekly modified psychodynamic treatment based on Otto F. Kernberg's object relations model of borderline personality disorder. It views the individual with borderline personality organization (BPO) as holding unreconciled and contradictory internalized representations of self and significant others that are affectively charged. The defense against these contradictory internalized object relations leads to disturbed relationships with others and with self. The distorted perceptions of self, others, and associated affects are the focus of treatment as they emerge in the relationship with the therapist (transference). The treatment focuses on the integration of split off parts of self and object representations, and the consistent interpretation of these distorted perceptions is considered the mechanism of change.

A clinical formulation, also known as case formulation and problem formulation, is a theoretically-based explanation or conceptualisation of the information obtained from a clinical assessment. It offers a hypothesis about the cause and nature of the presenting problems and is considered an adjunct or alternative approach to the more categorical approach of psychiatric diagnosis. In clinical practice, formulations are used to communicate a hypothesis and provide framework for developing the most suitable treatment approach. It is most commonly used by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and is deemed to be a core component of these professions. Mental health nurses and social workers may also use formulations.

Eating recovery refers to the full spectrum of care that acknowledges and treats the multiple etiologies of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, including the biological, psychological, social and emotional causes of the disorder, through a comprehensive, integrated treatment regimen. When successful, this regimen restores the individual to a healthy weight and arms him or her with the skills and resources needed to maintain a sustainable recovery. Although there are a variety of treatment options available to the eating disorders patient, the intensive and multi-faceted program followed in eating recovery is the appropriate option for individuals who require intensive support and are able to commit to treatment in an inpatient, residential or full-day hospital setting.

Asociality refers to the lack of motivation to engage in social interaction, or a preference for solitary activities. Asociality may be associated with avolition, but it can, moreover, be a manifestation of limited opportunities for social relations. Developmental psychologists use the synonyms nonsocial, unsocial, and social uninterest. Asociality is distinct from but not mutually exclusive to anti-social behaviour, in which the latter implies an active misanthropy or antagonism toward other people or the general social order. A degree of asociality is routinely observed in introverts, while extreme asociality is observed in people with a variety of clinical conditions.

Jack A. Apsche American psychologist

Jack A. Apsche was an American psychologist who has focused his work on adolescents with behavior problems. Apsche was also an author, artist, presenter, consultant and lecturer.

The mainstay of management of borderline personality disorder is various forms of psychotherapy with medications being found to be of little use.

Clinical behavior analysis is the clinical application of behavior analysis (ABA). CBA represents a movement in behavior therapy away from methodological behaviorism and back toward radical behaviorism and the use of functional analytic models of verbal behavior—particularly, relational frame theory (RFT).

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can develop in certain individuals after exposure to traumatic events, such as combat and sexual assault. PTSD is commonly treated with various types of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

The Coping Cat program is a CBT manual-based and comprehensive treatment program for children from 7 to 13 years old with separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and/or related anxiety disorders. It was designed by Philip C. Kendall, PhD, ABPP, and colleagues at the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University. A related program called C.A.T. Project is aimed at adolescents aged 14 to 17. See publishers webpage []

Compassion focused therapy (CFT) is a system of psychotherapy developed by Paul Gilbert that integrates techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy with concepts from evolutionary psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, Buddhist psychology, and neuroscience. According to Gilbert, "One of its key concerns is to use compassionate mind training to help people develop and work with experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing, via compassion and self-compassion."

Dynamic deconstructive psychotherapy (DDP) is a manual-based treatment for borderline personality disorder.

Inference-based therapy (IBT) originated as a form of cognitive therapy developed for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. IBT followed the observation that people with OCD often inferred danger on the basis of inverse inference. Later the model was extended to inferential confusion, where inverse inference leads to distrust of the senses and investment in remote possibility. In this model, individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder are hypothesized to put a greater emphasis on an imagined possibility than on what can be perceived with the senses, and to confuse the imagined possibility with reality. According to inference-based therapy, obsessional thinking occurs when the person replaces reality and real probabilities with imagined possibilities; the obsession is hypothesize to concern a doubt about a possible state of affairs.

Thomas A. Wadden American clinical psychologist and educator

Thomas A. Wadden is a clinical psychologist and educator who is known for his research on the treatment of obesity by methods that include lifestyle modification, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery. He is the Albert J. Stunkard Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and former director of the University’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. He also is Visiting Professor of Psychology at Haverford College.


  1. "Radically Open Ltd: Training, supervision and support for radical-openness and Radically Open DBT (RO DBT)". Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Theory.
  2. Lynch, T. R.; Whalley, B.; Hempel, R. J.; Byford, S.; Clarke, P.; Clarke, S.; Kingdon, D.; O'Mahen, H.; Russell, I. T. (2015-07-01). "Refractory depression: mechanisms and evaluation of radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO-DBT) [REFRAMED]: protocol for randomised trial". BMJ Open. 5 (7): e008857. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008857. ISSN   2044-6055. PMC   4513446 . PMID   26187121.
  3. Lynch, Thomas R. (2018). Radically open dialectical behavior therapy : theory and practice for treating disorders of overcontrol. Oakland, CA. ISBN   1626259283. OCLC   1002290750.
  4. Lynch, Thomas R. (2018). The skills training manual for Radically open dialectical behavior therapy : a clinician's guide for treating disorders of overcontrol. Complemented by (work) Lynch, Thomas R. (Professor of clinical psychology). Oakland, CA. ISBN   1626259313. OCLC   1002290050.