How to Diagnose and Treat Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is highly treatable.

I know, because I did it.

In a study of a Ten-Year Course of Borderline Personality Disorder--Eighty-five percent of patients with BPD remitted. (If you want more research details, drill down into my links on the Research page.)

Once I was diagnosed with the symptoms of BPD and found effective treatment, my life changed. Since then, I’ve spoken with so many who have gotten better, and changed their lives and relationships. As I mentioned in my article “BPD relationships”, there are many factors in proper diagnosis, such as co-occurring disorders. And because so few know how to properly diagnosis and treat Borderline Personality Disorder, it’s crucial to find the right treatment. You can start with a few ideas on this page or schedule a session with me so I can help you find a provider in your area.

How to diagnose and treat Borderline Personality Disorder.

There are several components involved in getting better:

  • Therapy

  • Skills training

  • Support from peers

  • Family education

  • Education about the disorder and recovery

  • Self-help skills

  • Medication


Several therapies have been proven to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT is the most common because of the extensive training provided to therapists, making it most widely accessible.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is what I used and what I teach. What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy? DBT therapy teaches skills to control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behavior, manage distress, and improve relationships. This proactive, problem-solving approach was designed specifically to treat BPD. Treatment includes individual therapy sessions, and skills training in a group setting.

Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) is also used be me in my classes and coaching. What is Mentalization-Based Therapy? It is talk therapy that teaches you how to understand what is in your mind and also the other person’s mind.

Transference-focused therapy (TFP) is designed to help patients understand their emotions and interpersonal problems through the relationship between the patient and therapist. Patients then apply the insights they learn to other situations.

Skills training: DBT skills training, which I and many DBT therapists teach, are enormously helpful. I went my whole life going to therapy asking, “but what do I DO? Give me something to do.” This is where you get the tools to improve your thinking, have better relationships, learn to calm intense emotions and reduce urges. For more on my class go here or contact us at

Support from peers: When people find out they have BPD, they usually are very relieved to finally understand themselves and get an explanation for their suffering. When you know others who have recovered who can validate what you are going through and share their own experiences, it makes recovery so much easier.

There are local organizations that supply peer-based support and education meetings including NAMI and DBSA. I connect others through my class and social media.

Family education: Family support requires family members to learn about the disorder and also to learn skills that help improve the relationship. As the person with BPD and their family progresses in recovery, the relationship dynamic will change considerably.

Education about the disorder and recovery: I was so relieved to understand that there was effective treatment for BPD. What is less understood is how recovery works. For example, intense conflict between family members reduce gradually as you both practice new skills. You can expect sessions of conflict to reduce in intensity, length and frequency over time.

Self-help skills: There are many things that help us navigate our unique challenges and improve our lives such as:

  • What to say to an employer when we aren’t feeling well

  • How to get on SSDI or SSI

  • Time management

  • Proper nutrition, exercise and sleep

  • Taking care of our health care needs

  • How to manage employees

  • And many more

Medication: I encourage all my clients to be clear on what symptoms they want help with before they visit the doctor who subscribes their medication. Some symptoms might include: cloudy or inaccurate thinking, low energy, anxiety, anger, poor sleep. Make a list of your own.

❓What has been most helpful in your recovery? Let us know in the comments below 👇