What is BPD?

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is a mental disorder that greatly impairs typical cognitive functioning as well as inward and outward behaviours. Someone with BPD may be written off as being very moody or short-tempered, though the diagnosed condition is much more severe than that. Someone with BPD may experience seemingly irrational fears of abandonment, consistently unstable relationships, constant feelings of emptiness, as well as engagement in impulsive, risky behaviours such as gambling, poor finance management, drug abuse, and extreme self-sabotage like quitting a job or abruptly ending a healthy relationship. For someone to be diagnosed with the disorder, they must see a registered psychiatrist where it is determined that their symptoms are severely interfering with their life.

Effective Treatments for BPD

Unlike some other mental health disorders, there is no medication to treat BPD. Instead, long- term solutions like dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) with a psychologist or counsellor are recommended. With the right treatment and motivation, someone diagnosed with BPD will notice an improvement in their condition, potentially even making a full recovery.

Components of DBT

DBT therapy is a tool therapists use to introduce behavioural skills to adults with borderline personality disorder. DBT will teach clients constructive interpersonal skills that do not always come naturally. Learning how to set boundaries and acknowledge others is vital in BPD treatments.

A key portion of effective BPD treatment is to recognize one's emotions and surroundings in a non-judgemental way. Rather than passing judgement on others or themselves, the goal is to first observe, then try and understand, and finally, determine a rational reaction. Recognizing your own emotions and exactly where they are coming from allows you to communicate with others in a productive manner.

Sometimes, reacting to an emotion is not the right way to handle how we feel. Therapy aims to teach clients active ways of accepting themselves, their emotions, and their surroundings for how they are by reflecting, as opposed to reacting. In times of irrational anger, a client may find it helpful to distract themselves in order to see things clearly. Where reacting to personal emotion could lead to destructive behaviours, DBT offers alternative solutions. Clients may find it helpful to meditate, journal, or exercise as a way to manage their intense emotional responses.

Goal of DBT Sessions

DBT provides clients a clear path to navigating and creating and maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends, and partners. Through routine DBT sessions, it is a goal for clients to recognize and manage their own emotions rather than try to control their thoughts or how they feel. Successful DBT will offer clients alternative ways to look at themselves and the world around them by living in the moment by way of personal mindfulness. DBT sessions need to be fairly routine so that each client can consistently develop healthy ways to cope with stress, anger, and anxiety.

Nature of the Session

DBT sessions can be executed in a number of ways. One-on-one DBT sessions happen between the client and the therapist. Group sessions are between two or more clients or one client and their family. Finally, phone sessions are unscheduled calls between therapist and client when they need extra assistance in a particular situation.

Contact BPD No More and speak with owner Dee Chan to learn about her personal experience with BPD and how DBT can change your life too.