Personality Disorder Recovery


About Personality Disorders

Disordered personality has long been a poorly understood, under-identified, and ineffectively treated behavioral health condition. Those struggling with personality disorder traits, and those who love them, often find themselves feeling frustrated and defeated in their efforts to experience recovery progress and healing. An accurate understanding of disordered personality must take into account the interruptions to personality development that occurred during important developmental stages of an individual's life. Many times this interrupted development, and the maladaptive coping that then occurred, was prompted by abuse, neglect and/or other traumatic or invalidating experiences. This part of a person's story may be sad and tragic, and yet the human spirit is resilient and there is hope! The impact of past invalidation and trauma can be be resolved, and maladaptive coping can be replaced by the learning and practice of more adaptive skills, in the areas of Mindfulness (to address cognitive dysregulation), Emotion Regulation (to address affective dysregulation), Interpersonal Effectiveness (to address relational dysfunction), and Distress Tolerance (to address the effective management of psychic pain). Marsha Linehan's development of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a specialized and targeted form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), has been a game-changer in the understanding and treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Skill-Building Resources

Explore these handouts that have been used to teach the following skills, as part of a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach to supporting recovery from personality disorder. These resources represent skill-building materials initially adapted for use with clients having co-occurring intellectual disabilities and borderline personality disorder/BPD traits, by clinicians from the Community Mental Health organization in Washtenaw County, Michigan.


Co-Occurring Personality & Substance Use Disorders

This unique combination of co-occurring disorders deserves special attention, since the lack of optimal mastery in the skill areas of Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, & Distress Tolerance is a frequently encountered status among those populations referred for addictions treatment, even when they may not meet full diagnostic criteria for Borderline or other Personality Disorder.