DBT and Borderline Personality Disorder
DBT has been specifically adapted and developed over many years to become the gold standard treatment for people affected by borderline personality disorder.
While this course aims to give you a broad overview of how DBT works, and show you some basic healthy coping skills, in a clinical setting dialectical behaviour therapy for the treament of BPD is much different.
It is a structured treatment, and traditionally consists of four components:
- skills training group
- individual psychotherapy
- telephone consultations
- therapist consultation team
The skills training group is designed to target the symptoms that are common to patients with BPD, such as an unstable sense of self, chaotic relationships, fear of abandonment, and impulsivity or reckless behaviour. The four core skills (mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance) are used to target these symptoms. People attend the group for 6 to 12 months, and are given ‘homework’ between sessions, to help consolidate what they have learned. You will also be given diary cards to keep a record of your feelings and emotions.
Individual psychotherapy an opportunity for the patients and therapist to work together on a regular basis. These sessions are meant to supplement the group work, and can focus on things such as behaviours that are interfering with therapy or quality of life, harmful or suicidal behaviours, and PTSD or trauma responses.
Telephone consultations allow the person to contact the therapist for in-the-moment support and guidance. These calls will teach you have to ask for help effectively, and how to apply the skills you have learned in your everyday life, especially during times of distress or crisis.
Therapist consultation teams usually meet weekly, and involve all the individual and group therapists who are currently providing DBT. This team allows all therapists to maintain motivation and commitment to providing the best treatment. As we all know, people with BPD are more prone to self-destructives or harmful behaviours, and this can be stressful on the team – regularly meeting together can help reduce stress, and ensure therapists don’t react inappropriately in individual or group sessions.