Although Borderline Personality Disorder is less well known than bipolar and
schizophrenia it is more common, affecting 2% of adults in the US and accounting
for a whopping 20% of psychiatric hospitalizations in the US. Completed suicide
rates in BPD is an incredible 8-10%. All that having been said, borderline
personality disorder is not a death sentance. There is strong research which
suggests that often symptoms of BPD decrease as the sufferer ages from a
teenager to a young adult and their brain fully develops. With early
intervention, likelyhood of recovery is also increased
With borderline personality disorder it's really hard to find good therapists
because everyone's either scared of the label or isn't experienced enough to
help you. One of the most effective treatments for Borderline personality
disorder is a type of therapy called DBT (Dialectical Behavioral
Therapy). DBT was developed by a psychologist who had borderline her self. She
found in her own recovery, and in treating her patients, that CBT (cognitive
behavioral therapy) was too oriented on change for borderlines, leading them to
feel invalidated and have a high risk of dropping out of treatment. DBT is a
balance of acceptance and change. The tag line is that DBT teaches you to "Build
A Life Worth Living". And two uniquie focuses of DBT include training on
dialectical thinking (seeing both sides to every story) and mindfulness ( living
in the present, concepts are most highly pulled from Zen Buddhism, but are not
at all religious in nature.) It teaches you skills in distress tolerance (which
is crisis survival), interpersonal effectiveness (how to improve your
relationships), mindfulness ( living in the present moment, meditation type
stuff), and emotional regulation (how to prevent yourself from going into crisis
to begin with..basic taking care of yourself kind of stuff). DBT is developed
for TEAMS of clinicians working together, and includes: individual
psychotherapy, group skills training, phone coaching, and consultation team-
which is when the clinicians meet to discuss cases and support each other.
Although consultation team does not directly impact that patient, it is seen as
a manadory component of DBT, and you should seek a DBT group or center, not an
individual DBT Clinician if at all possible.
DBT is very very different than standard psychotherapy, which tends to be a
processing therapy. While in standard therapy you may spend many many sessions
focusing on whats wrong, DBT is constantly redirecting you towards focusing on
solutions. and in absense of concrete solutions, acceptance, so you decrease
I think it is important to emphasize that \DBT is not a magical cure, nothing is.
And it can take a lot of perserverence to continue to incorperate skills into
your daily life when you aren't seeing a dramatic increase in mood. Most DBT
outpatient therapies need a time span of 1-2 years in therapy for full benefit.
It is not meant to be a life long treatment, although you could use it that way.
But for someone who is intelligent, and is determined to make the best of what
they have been given DBT is an excellent choice.
If you are interested in doing some work in DBT on your own, I would
suggest the "Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook" its green and is
published by New Harbinger Publishers. Here is a link to their original one,
they also have recently published variations of it, and one of them I know is
Medication can help treat some struggles relating to BPD, but behavioral therapy
is considered much more effective.