Your Ultimate Guide to DBT and Borderline Personality Disorder Recovery

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

female therapy patient

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder that involves unstable moods, self-perceptions, and behavior. Typical symptoms of BPD involve efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, instability regarding relationships, distorted sense of self, impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, self-harm, suicidal ideation, persistent feelings of emptiness, inappropriate and often intense anger, difficulty trusting people, and feelings of dissociation. When untreated, BPD can cause a lot of disruption to a person’s daily life, affecting their school, work, family, and interpersonal relationships. If you are seeking treatment for BPD, there are several effective therapies that can be used, including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy that has been shown to help those with BPD develop the skills they need to effectively manage their emotions and perceptions. DBT helps clients identify “all or nothing” thoughts that may be holding them back and making life more difficult as well as helping clients identify their own strengths so that they can build on them. Lastly, DBT involves collaboration, as it often involves working with a therapist and completing take-home assignments, role play, and practicing healthy coping skills for when a person is upset.

A 2017 study conducted by researchers from Nova Southeastern University sought to explore the perspectives and experiences of individuals with BPD in recovery who underwent DBT. Six individuals were interviewed, and several themes emerged:

  • Beliefs about recovery – individuals felt that BPD is a persistent disorder but that recovery is possible, and that there is a separation between BPD and disorders such as addiction
  • Characteristics required – participants mentioned several characteristics needed for success in BPD recovery, including: awareness, change of environment, perseverance, reducing impulsivity, understanding emotions, and more.
  • Current experience of self – patients stated they felt “normal”, some felt stigmatized, etc.
  • External support – all participants noted the importance of their therapist to their recovery
  • Facets of recovery – in addition to DBT, clients stated acceptance, positive emotional experiences, healthy relationships, stability, recovery as a process, and more.
  • Motivating factors – for these individuals, being a mother and/or wanting a turning point is what helped them push through their journey to recovery

DBT helps those with BPD grasp new understandings about their disorder, themselves, their perceptions, and their relationships to others. If you have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, it’s important that you seek help from a reputable treatment center.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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