What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that can cause a lot of suffering from the person experiencing it, and carries a risk of self-harm and suicide. For people with this diagnosis it can make it difficult in personal, social and employment relationships. BPD is estimated to affect between 2-6 percent of Australians and often more commonly in women.
It is important that this mental illness is diagnosed and treated correctly. It involves very specific psychological intervention with the most common form of treatment being Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). It is often a misunderstood condition that has many challenging aspects, including intense interpersonal relationships, low self-esteem, self- sabotaging acts, mood fluctuations and impulsivity. The most notable aspect of BPD is emotional dysregulation meaning that the person with BPD has difficulty regulating their own strong emotions, and often they have an inability to self-sooth in times of distress. Many people with BPD with counselling can do very well over time, experiencing sustained relief from many if not all of their symptoms.
The causes of Borderline Personality Disorder are unclear, historically it was seen as a response to abuse and trauma in childhood. However, most professionals now agree that there is not one single cause, as most mental illnesses have a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many people with Borderline Personality Disorder do have a history of abusive, neglect or attachment issues. There are people who are diagnosed with BPD have no history of abuse, in these people there may be a higher biological or genetic vulnerability to this condition.
Diagnosis and Symptoms
Clinical criteria as published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is used to make a diagnosis of BPD: A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects and marked impulsivity beginning in early adulthood and presenting in a variety of contexts as indicated by five or more of the following:
• Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment;
• A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships;
• Identity disturbance;
• Impulsivity in at least two areas that are self–damaging;
• Recurrent suicidal behaviour, suicidal gestures, threats or self-mutilating behaviour;
• Affective [mood] instability;
• Chronic feelings of emptiness;
• Inappropriate, intense anger; and
• Transient stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
And some of the common things that someone with BPD will experience is feeling empty or having low self-esteem, a feeling of paranoia about emotional detachment, anxiety about relationships and efforts to avoid abandonment either real or perceived, impulsive or risk-taking behaviour, self-harming, threatening or attempting suicide as well as disproportional feelings of anger, moodiness or irritability.
As a mental health professional when we do counselling for people with Borderline Personality Disorder when often come across people with myths. Some of the most common myths are: People with BPD are bad where are the reality is that people with BPD are often labelled as ‘manipulative’ or ‘attention seeking’ but this is just a result of the symptoms of the personality disorder and not about the person being a bad person. A Myth is that BPD people can’t get better, which is untrue because there are effective treatments for BPD and people with BPD are able to recover well with treatment and support. Another Myth is that people who harm themselves have BPD, and this is untrue as there are many reasons for self-harming and it is not exclusive to the BPD diagnosis.
It can seem overwhelming for someone diagnosed with BPD, but there is hope. With appropriate treatment recovery is possible. Over time 80% of people diagnosed with BPD experience a significant reduction or cessation of their symptoms. It is often a misunderstood mental health condition as there can be challenging aspects to it including; intense and fluctuating emotions, intensive relationships, low self-esteem and thoughts of self worth, self-sabotaging acts, and impulsivity.
BPD COUNSELLING WITH SAFE PLACE THERAPY in Footscray and Mill Park
We often hear that BPD clients are mistreated by different services, reporting them as too difficult to deal with. This is generally seen at hospitals where people are turned away due to many presentations. Our first step with you is about creating safety in counselling. Clients with BPD feel like nothing is in their control and their minds are 'all over the place'. We need to slow this down and offer real strategies that work at different times. Every person is different and so the strategies and supports also need to be unique to the person. Here is what is different about us:
• We are affordable and flexible: our session costs are much more reasonable than others, and we offer low-cost options and Medicare rebated sessions to eligible clients
• We are human first and professionals second: Our clients love that we don’t lecture them or preach as an expert. Our job is to be a human being and work with you.
• We offer support and understanding: We want to understand your story and unpack your experience, working with you towards your goals.
• We are a safe place: This is more than just a physical safety, it’s about providing unique and tailored therapy that is non-judgemental and appropriate for each individual.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with BPD and you would like to seek support from one of our counsellor please feel free to contact us on 0411 791 089 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Ready to make a time ? Click on the book now button.