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Borderline Personality Disorder and Trauma

Borderline Personality Disorder

A 2019 meta-analysis of 97 existing studies revealed some strong links between borderline personality disorder and childhood trauma. This is a topic that is very close to our hearts. After all, our mission is to understand early experiences and underlying causes that manifest mental health difficulties. The analysis showed that more than 71% of people struggling with borderline personality disorder experienced at least one traumatic event during their childhood. As Filippo Varese, head of the research team conducting the analysis, explains, “During childhood and adolescence, our brain is still undergoing considerable development and we are also refining strategies to deal with the challenges of everyday life, and the negative feelings that come with them. In some people who have experienced chronic, overwhelming stress in childhood, it is likely that these responses do not develop in the same way. People can become more sensitive to ‘normal’ stress.”


The Coping Skills of a Trauma Survivor

Mental health professionals added borderline personality disorder, or BPD, to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980. Common symptoms include fear of abandonment, patterns of unstable relationships, impulsive behavior, mood swings, and intense anger. In fact, these are the dysfunctional strategies or responses to overwhelming stress Varese mentioned above. Seeing these actions and patterns from a compassionate, trauma-informed and patient-centered approach means recognizing them as the coping skills of a trauma survivor. indeed, our clients developed these behaviors out of necessity as a survival mechanism. It is our job as therapists to paint a proper diagnostic picture for our clients, which includes recognizing these dysfunctional responses together and reaching back to unmask and address the unhealed trauma. We then learn how to take the power back and develop healthy coping strategies.


Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

Treatment for borderline personality disorder most often involves psychotherapy, though we also occasionally recommend medication. For example, some of the methods we find to be most effective include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy, a skills-based approach aimed at symptom management
  • Schema-focused therapy, which focuses on identifying unmet needs
  • Mentalization-based therapy, an approach that emphasizes thinking before reacting
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy, which focuses on a better understanding of emotion


Innovative, Creative Care

Furthermore, borderline personality disorders often co-occur with mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, which means many of our clients make use of our dual diagnosis program. To battle the chaos of addiction, we incorporate the guiding principles of the twelve-step tradition as a framework. Additionally, approaches may include:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Expressive Arts & Groups utilizing Music and Art
  • Attachment-Based Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy
  • Equine Group
  • Family Therapy
  • Mindfulness Interventions
  • Nutritional Support
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Psychological Testing and Diagnostic Testing
  • Trauma Therapy
  • Yoga

We work as a team to create your ideal recovery plan. If you or someone you love is suffering from borderline personality disorder, start the recovery process today by calling Creative Care at 800-832-3280.