Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a disorder of the emotional regulation system that is marked by a pervasive pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, mood, and self-image, as well as distinct impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. It is theorized that the manifestation of BPD is due to the transaction between an individual’s biological vulnerability toward emotional dysregulation and an invalidating social environment. Individuals with BPD have a biological vulnerability to more frequent and intense emotions and impulsivity. This vulnerability is worsened through an invalidating environment, which includes conditions that are neglectful, abusive, traumatic, or those that simply fail to help the individual develop emotion coping skills.
The difficulties experienced by individuals with BPD are varied and they often exhibit different patterns of behavior throughout their lives. Their predisposition towards emotional vulnerability leads to extreme, long-lasting emotional reactions to life events and a slow return to a normal emotional state. Individuals with BPD commonly invalidate their own emotional experiences by ignoring, suppressing, judging, or discounting them. They may take a passive approach to solving problems and expect others to offer solutions even though they appear to be managing their lives quite competently on their own. Individuals with BPD often feel as if they are living a life of quiet desperation and their sense of helplessness and isolation leave them at risk for substance abuse, self-harm and suicidal behaviors.
A diagnosis of BPD is based on interviews, psychological testing and questionnaires, and a review of the individual’s medical history. It is important to recognize that a diagnosis of BPD is not representative of who you are as a person but is simply the first critical step we must take in order to get you the treatment you urgently need. At Suffolk DBT, Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment involves Dialectic Behavior Therapy, a comprehensive, evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral therapeutic intervention. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is considered the gold standard treatment for BPD and it has demonstrated effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, eating disorders, and depression.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for BPD
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for BPD involves four main components: skills training group, individual treatment, phone coaching, and consultation team.
- DBT Skills Training: This is a weekly group session which involves learning, practicing and reviewing behavioral skills that will enhance the capabilities of the clients. The different skill sets include:
- Mindfulness: the practice of non-judgmental moment-to-moment awareness
- Distress Tolerance: how to endure pain and suffering in difficult situations, without making the situation worse
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to make requests and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with other people
- Emotion Regulation: how to change the emotions that you want to change
- Middle Path: how to avoid rigid black and white thinking
- DBT Individual Therapy: These weekly sessions focus on increasing the treatment motivation of the client within a collaborative working environment. Clients discuss their problems and behaviors and the therapist helps them apply skills
- DBT Phone Coaching: Clients may contact their therapist between sessions in order to receive in-the-moment coaching on using skills effectively in difficult situations.
- DBT Therapist Consultation Team: The therapist consultation team meets on a weekly basis to discuss cases and receive feedback. These meetings help therapists remain motivated and enhances their ability to provide effective BPD treatment.
Suffolk DBT has been successful in treating people with Borderline Personality Disorder. We offer skill group sessions for adults, adolescents and families. We do require a one-year commitment for most of our patients and 6 months for adolescents. For more information, contact Suffolk DBT.