Marsha Linehan and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy praised by Seahawk Brandon Marshall in this News Tribune story.
New Seahawks receiver Brandon Marshall, thanks to therapy, is a new manBY GREGG BELL email@example.com June 01, 2018 07:34 AM Updated June 03, 2018 10:39 PM RENTON
Brandon Marshall stood tall, even taller than his listed 6 feet, 5 inches.
After the workout on his first day as a Seahawk, the six-time Pro Bowl receiver spoke slowly and confidently. He listened to questions as thoughtfully as he answered them. He spoke of the "honor" of having "champions" as new teammates in Seattle. He talked of his chance at age 34, following two surgeries since October, to prove the rest of the NFL is wrong is thinking he is finished as a player. The New York Giants gave up on Marshall last month. They waived him during his recoveries from toe and ankle surgeries instead of paying him his scheduled $5 million in 2018.
But nothing Marshall said or did made him seem larger, meant more to him—and, he hopes, can potentially mean more to others—than his response when I asked him why he has chosen to take on society's stigma over mental health. He's done that though revealing interviews, essays and his nonprofit organization,Project 375 . "That's easy," Marshall said.
Then he told a story that is hard.
The veteran of 172 regular-season games for five NFL teams, of six 100-catch seasons, was diagnosed in 2011 with borderline personality disorder. That illness is known for causing impulsive behavior, wild mood swings and problems in relationships.
Marshall has had his share of headline-grabbing incidents not related to football.
* In 2016, ESPN reported Marshall and Sheldon Richardson, then two of the Jets' biggest stars, had a loud "verbal altercation" in New York's locker room following a game.
* In 2014 while playing for the Chicago Bears, he defended himself against allegations surrounding his arrests on suspicion of domestic abuse and misdemeanor battery back in 2007 and '08.
* In 2009, his Denver Broncos suspended him during the preseason for insubordination. That was weeks after he was acquitted of a misdemeanor battery charge in Atlanta. Prosecutors there had accused him of beating his then-girlfriend.
* In 2008, the league suspended him for three games for his domestic-violence issues. An appeal dropped the suspension to one game.
"We talked about my past, and you see it from from afar, you can say, 'Man, that's a troubled guy. What's going on?'" Marshall said. "Sometimes when you approach things with curiosity you can see that there's something else there. You can go a little deeper and say, 'Wow, that guy needs help.'"
So finally, seven years ago, after a then-record $47.5 million contract from the Dolphins and his flame out in Miami, he got help. Marshall parked himself inside McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., not for days or weeks but for months. The NFL star sat down with people from all walks of life for group mental-healthy therapy in Boston's western suburbs. He got individual therapy there, plus an array of cognitive and emotional tests.
Marshall wasn't just helped. He was wowed.
"I was so in awe when I was at McLean Hospital," he said. "I spent three months in an outpatient program there. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I was in DBT,dialectical behavioral therapy ."
DBT is a cognitive behavioral treatment emphasizing mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. The therapy was developed by University of Washington PhD Marsha Linehan.
Marshall admiringly calls her "the great Marsha Linehan that's out here in Seattle, a prominent figure in our community. ... Saved so many lives."
Including his, Marshall believes.
"I was in cognitive behavioral therapy. I was in mentalization. I was in self-assessment," Marshall said. "I had a neurological assessment to look at my brain, to see if I was capable of change. I did a clinical evaluation, to see what was going on in my life and if I had a diagnosis."
He did. And through it, the Pittsburgh native and athlete with fame and money got something priceless in 2011: a new life.
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