#22 – Proof That Borderlines Are Motivated for Psychotherapy and Can Fully Recover

BPDTransformation used to be one of my commenters but has not posted anything in his blog in over a year, or made any more comments here.   Edward (his real name) wrote fascinating, intelligent, and extremely well researched articles about BPD, which he was diagnosed with. At some point he came to believe BPD was a bogus diagnosis, a catchall for an array of symptoms that weren’t easily classified or understood. (Some people believe BPD and C-PTSD are the same disorder, which does make sense to me).

Edward, who became BPD-free, writes here about how motivated many borderlines are to recover, and how effective psychotherapy can be in healing this disorder. This flies in the face of the common belief that because BPD is in the Cluster B group of personality disorders, that it’s just something you have to resign to yourself to having forever.

The article, like all of Edward’s articles, is a bit on the scholarly side, but is still a very good read and helps reduce the stigma against people with BPD.

BPD Transformation

This post will answer critics who say: “Borderlines are not motivated to attend therapy. Borderline patients don’t stay in treatment. At best, therapy can manage but not cure BPD.”

These statements are absolutely false. Yet these myths continue to appear online, often being communicated to people recently diagnosed. As the studies below demonstrate, most people diagnosed with BPD do want help, most will stay in good treatment, and most do recover to different degrees.

Earlier posts have elaborated my dim view of the (non) validity of the BPD diagnosis. Since it cites studies using the BPD construct, this post might be viewed as hypocritical. That may be a valid criticism! Nevertheless, these studies provide evidence that people with “borderline symptoms”, however defined, can be motivated and recover both with and without therapy

Study 1:  88 Borderline Patients Treated Twice a Week for Three Years

Highlights: Led by Josephine Giesen at…

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8 thoughts on “#22 – Proof That Borderlines Are Motivated for Psychotherapy and Can Fully Recover

  1. Hi, I know that in my case, I was highly motivated to keep attending therapy as pain relief. Having BPD I have found is extremely emotionally painful. The pain, darkness, and barrenness is too much too deal with and it goes on forever and ever with occasional breaks from it. You do feel better at times, but most often, you feel very bad. So you meet with your therapist and his or her nurturing, attentive way makes you feel important and hopeful. And you keep going back week after week to get that dose of feeling better. I was ‘stuck’ for a very long time and then when you remember everything it’s mind blowing. You wake up and then usually the scapegoat quits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have described this so well, Ruby, and the emptiness we feel inside at times is too horrible to even describe to people who have not experienced it. People with C-PTSD describe the same feeling, which is another reason (besides the similarity of symptoms) why I think they actually might be the same disorder (BPD might be more ingrained in the personality than C-PTSD). I know that feeling of being stuck too. My therapist definitely gives me a warm, nurturing, attentive feeling and although he makes me face the emptiness, it feels less scary than facing it all by myself, and that gives me the courage to explore what it means.


  2. Hi Lucky Otter, I am still here and am honored you would reblog my post. Thank you!

    I have not added to the blog because I feel like I have written most of what I know and recounted most of my borderline experiences, and now I am indeed living a different and much better life. And I do not wish to cheapen the blog by posting repetitive or watered down posts on the same topics. I still hear from people who find the BPDTransformation site helpful, though.

    As you know, I don’t view BPD as a discrete entity or lifelong disease, but yes, one can definitely move along the continuum of borderline states to the transition point where one passes into healthier more normative states. And, I am only one of many thousands of people that have done this, if you think about how many individuals who get better among the millions of traumatized people.

    In the future I am planning to make another website about my other area of interest, “schizophrenia”, or severe psychosis. I have a very unconventional view of that also. And it is something I have researched even more than borderline states. I will try to let you know when I have that out. In the meantime, you might like to see my friend Paris’ book on the subject: http://www.rethinkingmadness.com/download/i/mark_dl/u/4007924736/4629448798/Rethinking_Madness_complete.pdf

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    • Edward!!!!!!! I felt my heart literally leap for joy when I saw your comment here. That’s how happy I am to know that you are alive and well. Because you haven’t blogged in such a long time, I was concerned.

      Please let me know when your blog on schizophrenia is up. I have a special interest in that, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • OMG! Edward…wow….I cannot believe you saw this, and almost right away too. I’m glad you’re alive (I honestly wasn’t sure). I’m glad you’re doing well and are happy!

      That makes perfect sense that you’d leave your blog up as is, and not add more to it to avoid being repetitive/redundant. That’s actually what I guessed in my comment to Emerging (on Down the Rabbit Hole, which is my second blog –more about that in a minute).
      I’m glad you left your blog up for others to learn from and enjoy.
      I’m also looking froward to your blog about schizophrenia–that should be really interesting! I’m definitely interested in your insights about that.

      Well, I guess you’ve seen there’s been some changes for me too. I am now in therapy. My current therapist hates psych labels and refuses to give me any official diagnosis because he believes in treating symptoms rather than disorders — which as I recall is the same stance you had on the matter. But he is working wonders.

      Since I’ve been able to let go of my anger at narcissists and no longer classify them as a bunch of irredeemable devils, I’m shifting away from narcissistic abuse (while not dismissing the fact it exists and is a real problem, and I still post about it sometimes) and focusing more on a more nuanced and less stigmatic view of both BPD and NPD — most of that stuff is on my second blog.
      Being able to let go of hatred has changed me in profound and positive ways. It’s really unbelievable — that shit, if held onto forever, is soul destroying.

      Down the Rabbit Hole may interest you — it’s more personal than this one because it focuses on my therapy, my emerging self, and the things I’ve discovered about myself in the past year (a few things that shocked me too — discovering my own covert narcissism, for one–no I do not have NPD but I am on the spectrum). I also write about the negative and pervasive stigma against all people with cluster B disorders (this does not include sociopathy/psychopathy/malignant narcissism), especially those who are not malignant and desire to heal from them. I completely have come to believe they are not incurable (which isn’t a very popular view, as you know). I’ve become a kind of advocate for a few of these people because there is so little support out there for people with these disorders who want to change.
      I reblogged your post there too.
      I’d love it if you’d take a look at it and tell me what you think.
      I’m so glad you are doing well 🙂


      • Hi Lucky, thanks for your thoughts. I agree with what your therapist says, although I would go even further and suggest our experiences of distress are not “symptoms” (of a disorder/illness), but are understandable and logical responses to adverse experiences.
        As I said to you on here before, many writers such as Kohut, Masterson, Giovacchini, Boyer, Kernberg, Searles, Stephen M. Johnson, and so on wrote about successful treatments of narcissistic people. It is not all or nothing either; but a matter of degree, both how severe narcissistic issues are and how much they can be helped, which depends on many factors such as awareness, resources including therapy, the tolerance of the people around a person. It’s relative not absolute. I am amazed to see that online many people still think about “N’s” in such an absolute way. It has disturbing implications for what they are dealing with in their own lives, that they think in such a black and white way.
        Anyway, it is good to hear that your therapy has been successful. You sound like a very earnest and committed person, so it is not surprising to me that you would have success in therapy if you found someone compatible. Well done!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you! Well, it hasn’t BEEN successful — it’s an ongoing process and I expect to be in it for some time still, but I think I know what you mean. I agree with you that the general attitude on the web toward people with these disorders is very black and white (mainly black). I understand it, but I feel like I’ve reached a point in my own growth that it now is very offputting to me.


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