The following information on Borderline Personality Disorder (commonly referred to as BPD) will give you some insight to what Borderline Personality Disorder Disorder is and how it presents. 

Michelle Barratt Psychology aims to provide effective treatment for the management of BPD at the highest level; implementing support and treatment that not only endeavours to support a person feel heard and understood, but a treatment plan that empowers their clients to manage their disorder effectively.  The interventions used to treat BPD are Dialectical Behaviour Treatment (DBT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).


Our therapeutic values aim to support all children, all adolescents, and all adults, couples and family's work through their presenting issues to succeed in their ultimate wellbeing. If you are unsure about what you are dealing with, please don't hesitate to contact us to support you through the next step of either working out what to do or how to proceed with an appointment.







TREATMENT FOR BPD - Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

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What Is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a diagnosis given to people with pervasive and long-standing difficulties with regulating emotions and associated erratic behaviour and unstable interpersonal relationships.

A person struggling with BPD is high in “Emotion Mind”

A person with these difficulties is likely to be emotionally sensitive, getting more emotionally distressed than others in response to environmental or internal triggers, and taking longer to settle back down to a baseline of emotional stability afterwards. This is often referred to as “quick to light, slow to burn out”. As a result, this individual spends longer in what can be termed “emotion mind”, which is a mental space dominated by strong emotions and their associated action urges.  Overall, an individual struggles to see reason, and allow their logical mind to reason with their “emotion mind”, they are stuck in emotion mind.


Research shows us that while experiencing strong emotions the frontal lobes of the brain are essentially offline. This is significant for an individual with BPD because frontal lobe functions include being able to anticipate future consequences resulting from current actions, choose between possible behaviours, and override or suppress socially unacceptable behaviour. Therefore, with these important higher order functions lost, a person in emotion mind is at risk of acting out the action urges they are experiencing, without considering consequences. Anger is an example of this. The action urge for anger is often yelling, throwing something, stamping feet and so on.  These behaviours generally reflect inadequate planning, disregard for consequences, and are likely to be socially unacceptable, but nevertheless a person may do all of these when in emotion mind.  All core emotions have associated action urges and acting on them is partly responsible for the unsettled interpersonal relationships and behavioural instability typical of people with a diagnosis of BPD.



There are nine criteria listed for BPD, and to receive this diagnosis a person must meet five of them.  More often than not BPD persons's can experience a mixture of extreme 'Emotional changeability' or 'Hyperactivity and Difficulties controlling intense anger'.  BPD clients will often explain that they feel they have:

  • Feelings of emptiness or

  • Emotional numbness and “Disconnectedness.

  • The criteria Impulsive behaviour is clearly a result of emotion mind as discussed above, as is

  • Difficult interpersonal relationships.

  • Self-injurious behaviour (Self-harm) is a criteria that describes deliberate self-harm often used by an individual with BPD because it has the effect of reducing or numbing the experience of intense emotions.

  • The eighth criteria is ‘Uncertainty about self-image or identity’, and it is reasonably straightforward to envisage how having highly variable emotional experiences and erratic behaviours are likely to interfere with a person’s capacity to experience “self” as a stable and consistent ongoing entity.

  • The final criteria is ‘fear of abandonment’, and can be seen as relating to poor sense of self and unstable relationships. A poor sense of self is likely to generate intense fear of being alone, and this fear of abandonment may well be reinforced by frequent relationship ruptures.

Life for people with Borderline Personality Disorder and their close friends and family members can be very difficult indeed at times. If you or someone close to you has these sorts of difficulties, please consider making an appointment with an adolescent psychologist, or a psychologist as Borderline Personality Disorder is not always detected during adolescence but often in a person’s twenties and sometimes early thirties.


There are extremely effective treatments available for BPD, namely Dialectical Behaviour Treatment and Cognitve Behaviour Therapy.  Michelle Barratt Psychology's Psychologists are trained in these areas and would be more than happy to support you through a treatment program.



Family members living with BPD can also struggle with the loss of how to manage and support a family member, and research has found that some family members can struggle with anxiety and or depression, especially parents and spouses or partners.  Please don't hesitate to contact us if this is you, as untreated BPD is likely only to get worse.  Living with BPD can be extremely difficult and can often feel confusing and isolating for those that struggle with BPD and for those living with BPD.

Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay Psychology Practice - Promoting the Therapeutic Care and Therapy for Adults.


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.