Often, patients with borderline personality disorder do not respond to conventional forms of psychotherapy. Even though they crave close relationships, intense psychotherapy can feel too close for their comfort.
More structured therapeutic approaches tend to work better. One recent study published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics assessed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which was developed to treat chronically suicidal patients with borderline personality disorder.
Using group treatments, individual psychotherapy, and phone coaching, DBT teaches mindfulness techniques and ways to better tolerate stress, improve effectiveness in relationships, and gain control over emotions.
Depending on a patient’s concerns, the treatment sessions focus on issues ranging from life-threatening behaviors to everyday skills training.
When researchers compared the outcomes of patients treated with DBT to those who were undergoing traditional therapy, they found that DBT led to fewer hospitalizations and fewer days when patients felt like harming themselves.
This form of psychotherapy is now standard for these patients. It is also effective for depression, substance dependence, and other psychiatric disorders.
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