A personality disorder is a long-standing pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are quite different to that experienced by other people and tend to cause distress or lead to other problems such as relationship breakups, unemployment and family cut-offs. These patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving tend to be difficult for the person to change and will usually occur in many different parts of the person’s life: at home, at work, at school, with friends, with partners, with strangers, with family.
Among the 10 different personality disorders that are recognised in our classification system, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one that has a relatively high prevalence rate, tends to cause a lot of distress for the sufferer and their family, and has evidence based treatments available. Some of the hallmarks of BPD include self-harm and suicide attempts as well as rapidly cycling intense mood swings. Just these symptoms alone can make it difficult to have a stable romantic relationship, to maintain friendships or to hold down a job. Importantly, BPD is often missed in health professionals’ initial assessment or purposely avoided because many practitioners do not have the knowledge and skills to provide effective treatment.
At True North Psychology we have a number of clinicians who are well trained to treat BPD using therapies such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). While the treatment of BPD is a longer therapeutic process than the treatment of other mental health conditions, people can and do get better, especially with the right guidance and skills. Help is at hand!