Marsha Linehan tells the story of her journey from suicidal teenager to world-renowned developer of the life-saving behavioral therapy DBT, using her own struggle to develop life skills for others.

“This book is a victory on both sides of the page.”—Gloria Steinem

“Are you one of us?” a patient once asked Marsha Linehan, the world-renowned psychologist who developed dialectical behavior therapy. “Because if you were, it would give all of us so much hope.” 

Over the years, DBT had saved the lives of countless people fighting depression and suicidal thoughts, but Linehan had never revealed that her pioneering work was inspired by her own desperate struggles as a young woman. Only when she received this question did she finally decide to tell her story.

In this remarkable and inspiring memoir, Linehan describes how, when she was eighteen years old, she began an abrupt downward spiral from popular teenager to suicidal young woman. After several miserable years in a psychiatric institute, Linehan made a vow that if she could get out of emotional hell, she would try to find a way to help others get out of hell too, and to build a life worth living.  She went on to put herself through night school and college, living at the YWCA and often scraping together spare change to buy food. She went on to get her PhD in psychology, specializing in behavior therapy. In the 1980s, she achieved a breakthrough when she developed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, a therapeutic approach that combines acceptance of the self and ways to change. Linehan included mindfulness as a key component in therapy treatment, along with original and specific life-skill techniques. She says, "You can't think yourself into new ways of acting; you can only act yourself into new ways of thinking."

Throughout her extraordinary scientific career, Marsha Linehan remained a woman of deep spirituality. Her powerful and moving story is one of faith and perseverance. Linehan shows, in Building a Life Worth Living, how the principles of DBT really work—and how, using her life skills and techniques, people can build lives worth living.
“In Building a Life Worth Living, Marsha Linehan shares her experience of suicidal depression to help others who may be experiencing this themselves or someone they love. Since using what happens to us to help others is the final stage of healing, this book is a victory on both sides of the page.”—Gloria Steinem, New York Times bestselling author of My Life on the Road

“A brilliant memoir by one of the greatest pioneers in psychotherapy history. Marsha Linehan holds absolutely nothing back, making good on the vow she made as a young woman to escape hell and help others do the same. This book—with its fierce honesty and, for the careful reader, practical advice—will help anyone who has struggled to build a life worth living.”—Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit

“To read this book is to understand how a life is built. In dark, there is light. Everything in Marsha Linehan’s life and remarkable memoir uncovers the dark—the hell of the unhappy self and the hell of inadequate help—and brings us into the light, with humor and detail in her grappling and growth, and in her courage and vision of how to create a treatment for even the most unhappy of us.”—Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of White Houses