#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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“Back from the Edge”–video about borderline personality disorder

Here is an excellent and informative video featuring three people who suffered and were successfully treated for their BPD. Marsha Linehan, a psychologist who also had BPD and developed DBT therapy for borderline patients, is also featured, as well as Otto Kernberg, an psychologist who specializes in NPD and BPD.

BPD is best defined as a severe lack of a sense of self which has its roots in abuse and often sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence but it also has a genetic component. Brain scans of people with BPD show their brains are actually wired differently. Self destructive behaviors such as cutting serve to help the sufferer regulate their emotions for the short term. Borderlines find their inability to regulate their emotions so painful and debilitating that many resort to suicide. One shocking statistic is that 8 – 10% of borderlines will ultimately either kill themselves or die of their self destructive behaviors.

Unlike people with NPD, medications that “turn off” the parts of the brain that overreact to emotional stimuli have been successful for treating and controlling BPD symptoms. Also, while people with BPD are more impaired in being able to function than people with NPD, therapy is much more likely to be successful.