Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a long-term mental health condition that affects how you think, behave, and manage your emotions. Individuals with BPD develop strict and unhealthy patterns of thinking that can negatively influence self-esteem, social skills, and everyday tasks and behaviors.
Treatment for BPD revolves around restructuring those thought patterns and building emotional regulation skills to create constructive and positive change in many patients’ lives. As such, the most effective types of therapy for borderline personality disorder are various forms of talk therapy. Read on to learn more about these main therapies and how they can help individuals with BPD.
Schema-focused therapy revolves around the idea that everyone has specific schemas, or ingrained patterns of thinking, that can develop in early childhood as a result of neglect, abuse, or other trauma. Certain experiences or environmental factors influence these schemas, which in turn affect how individuals view themselves and the world around them.
Schemas can turn into harmful thought or behavior patterns, but schema-focused therapy helps patients unlearn these patterns and build healthier alternatives instead.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, is a skills-based therapy for borderline personality disorder and similar mental health conditions. DBT helps patients better manage their emotions. DBT helps treat BPD by teaching patients four essential psychological techniques: distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Learning these skills helps patients with BPD unlearn or combat maladaptive behaviors and thought processes.
Mentalization is a skill that helps you understand emotional states and how they influence actions. People with BPD often struggle to identify and regulate their emotions, which can lead to impulsive or dangerous behaviors. Mentalization-based therapy helps patients improve their ability to mentalize so that they can better understand emotions and form more constructive thoughts and behaviors around those emotions.
Transference is a subconscious process that occurs when a patient projects their own emotions onto another person, such as their therapist. Psychologists use this process in transference-focused psychotherapy to highlight and combat unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns as they occur. Transference-focused therapy is a useful way to identify the internalized thoughts behind some of the unhealthy behaviors of people with BPD.