I have spent nearly 1,000 hours in therapy since I first received a borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis nearly five years ago. Although it has by no means been a walk in the park every single week, I have reached a point in my life where I no longer meet the criteria for BPD and feel (mostly) satisfied with my day-to-day routines.
Like many people who receive a borderline personality disorder diagnosis after a hospitalization, I was given the contact information for local dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment facilities and therapists trained in this modality who may be able to help. What I didn’t realize at the time was that DBT isn’t the only option out there for people like me. In fact, there are a total of five different types of therapy that all have a proven success record with borderline patients.
1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapeutic modality designed specifically for individuals with borderline personality disorder. Psychologist Marsha Linehan designed DBT in the 1980s. Linehan, who spent years researching clients with extreme emotion dysregulation and suicidal urges, felt like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) caused these clients to experience burnout, lack of motivation, and invalidation. So, she combined some of the aspects of CBT with the ideas of acceptance and mindfulness practice to create a modality that was more fitting for this clientele.
Fully-adherent DBT includes weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly skills group education sessions, and phone coaching between sessions. A full course of DBT takes around six months to complete, and clients are encouraged to complete two cycles to master the skills for
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