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Do You Wonder if You May Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Have you felt confused about your identity and sense of self throughout your life? Do you believe your emotional reactions often interfere with day-to-day life or make it hard to maintain close relationships?  Do you feel things so intensely sometimes that it gets in the way of your happiness?

If you’ve often struggled with managing your emotions, you may have the thought that you’re broken in some fundamental way. Your response to any given situation may depend on your mood at that moment, causing you to quickly go from zero to 100 and have trouble recovering from the damage that was caused. The anger or fear you experience—especially in relationships—might be intense and hard to predict.

Being in Relationships Might be Challenging for You

People you’ve tried to get close to might say that it is difficult to be in a stable relationship with you because they are often not sure of how you might respond. But from your perspective, you might react negatively because you feel attacked or abandoned. And because trust might not come easily for you, it’s hard to ever feel fully secure. Understandably, the culmination of these factors can lead to loneliness, anxiety, and sadness. 

As you yearn to connect with others, happiness may be fleeting. To seek short-term pleasure, you might fall back on unhealthy behaviors—such as substance abuse, binge eating, or risk-taking. Or perhaps you resort to self-harm to relieve your sense of emptiness, or just feel something. Without a clear understanding of what’s important to you, you might feel like a chameleon who tries on different identities without being anchored to anything in particular.

Perhaps you wish you could gain control of your emotions, feel worthy to give and receive love, and have a stronger sense of self. With borderline personality disorder therapy, you can build up the skills you need to regulate your emotions and get in touch with who you truly are.

BPD Is More Common Than You May Think

It’s estimated that 1.6 percent of U.S. adults have borderline personality disorder—and of those, about 42 percent have received therapy in the past year. [1] [2] Although that percentage may sound small, it represents over 4 million Americans. Many more individuals—increasingly teens in the past few years—exhibit traits or experience parts of this disorder and can use help with regulating their emotions. 

BPD develops when certain biological factors and personality traits combine with an invalidating environment. It’s theorized that people with emotional dysregulation are born with a more sensitive biological predisposition based on their genetics and brain chemistry. Those with BPD experience emotions more often than others, have more visceral reactions that last longer, and, once experienced, have difficulty coming down from these intense emotions. 

How Environments That Invalidate Our Emotional Responses Fosters BPD

The dysregulation associated with emotional sensitivity is exacerbated when we are exposed to an invalidating environment. Rather than being shown empathy and understanding by our caregivers, we are made to believe our emotional reactions are inappropriate. These experiences may take the form of ostracization, abuse, or neglect. Subtler forms of invalidation occur whenever someone doesn’t believe our feelings or difficulties are real enough or when we don’t fit in with the rest of our family or culture.

With BPD, we often lack the skills to better know ourselves, either because we never learned or practiced them. Without learning the proper tools to regulate our emotions, we may have difficulty fitting in, trusting our thoughts and feelings, and knowing how to change how we behave and see the world.

Fortunately, an effective treatment for borderline personality disorder is available—Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). 

Borderline Personality Disorder Therapy Can Help You Create A Life Worth Living

As someone with borderline personality disorder symptoms, you might have tried counseling before with little to no success, making you skeptical that therapy can help. However, giving DBT a chance can be life-changing. Once you build trust with a therapist, you can learn a multitude of life skills that address the behaviors associated with BPD.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment for the management of BPD. Research has shown that DBT is effective in helping people with BPD “build and maintain meaningful relationships, gain control over their emotions, curtail problematic impulses, and generally feel more in control.” [2] 

How Comprehensive DBT Therapy For Borderline Personality Disorder Works

Our comprehensive DBT program offers six-month to one-year cycles of group skills training. Once enrolled, you will also meet with your therapist once per week individually and have access to phone coaching. Your therapist is part of a DBT team that meets regularly to ensure you are getting the optimal level of care and support. 

While our DBT classes  teach practical life skills, individual therapy is where you can apply these skills to your specific needs and goals. Even if you are not enrolled in comprehensive DBT, your therapist can weave in DBT strategies where relevant to meet your treatment goals. 

Your safety and well-being will be our number one priority as you collaborate with your therapist to set the agenda that best fits your needs for each session. Together, we will focus on identifying and targeting specific behaviors you want to either promote—like taking a pause before reacting—or decrease—like self-harm or impulsive texting. 

We will also analyze the factors that lead you to engage in unwanted behaviors as well as what happens afterward. This helps us understand the function this behavior serves so you can identify healthier alternatives moving forward. And tracking your behaviors, emotions, and skills and reviewing them in each session helps keep you accountable.

The Skills Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Teaches For BPD

DBT offers life skills that are helpful for BPD, including:

  • Mindfulness to help you stay in the present moment so you can learn how to pause before acting impulsively, thereby providing you better options for responding to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; 
  • Emotion Regulation to enhance control over intense reactions and decrease the chances of them happening in the first place; 
  • Interpersonal effectiveness to teach you how to ask for what you want as well as how to say no, in addition to maintaining positive relationships and keeping your self-respect;
  • Middle path skills to modify problematic behaviors, promote thinking more flexibly, and improve acceptance of yourself and others;
  • Distress tolerance to increase your ability to get through difficult moments without making them worse and accept circumstances that cannot be immediately changed.

The overall goal of BPD therapy is to help you build a satisfying and meaningful life according to your values. With DBT, you can feel more in control, learn to trust yourself, and find your inner wisdom so you have hope for the future.

But You May Wonder Whether Borderline Personality Disorder Therapy Is Right For You…

Going to both individual therapy and the DBT group is a lot of time and money. Can I just attend individual therapy?

Although we understand it’s a commitment, according to the most recent research, comprehensive DBT—consisting of individual and group therapy, phone coaching, and access to a therapist consultation team—is the gold standard treatment for BPD. [3] Whereas the DBT group for borderline personality disorder offers a class in life skills, individual therapy is where you learn how to apply these skills to your own life. Given the benefits of comprehensive DBT treatment for anyone suffering from borderline personality disorder, it’s worth the commitment and is shown to actually save time and money in the future. 

I’ve been in therapy for BPD for years and nothing has really helped.

It’s important to find a treatment that’s a good fit for your needs. As specialists in borderline personality disorder, we are highly trained in BPD and are confident Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can work for you. If you are willing to give DBT a chance and trust the process, you will see results. We are happy to answer any questions you have and, if things aren’t working, we will troubleshoot to find the best solutions for you. We also offer BPD couples therapy if needed.

It’s important that my therapist gets me.

Based on your initial call, we will do our best to match you with the most suitable BPD therapist for your needs. Once you have gotten to know them, we encourage you to be open and honest about what has been helpful in the past and what hasn’t. Please feel free to give them feedback along the way. We are in this together and will partner with you to help you create the life you want.

Life Can Be More Satisfying With The Right Life Skills

We’re excited to share our comprehensive DBT treatment with you. To find out more about borderline personality disorder therapy with MindWell NYC, you can call 646-809-5440 ext. 1, email, or visit our consultation page to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.

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