Therapy FAQ

Seeking Help for BPD: Tips for Finding the Right Therapist

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that affects millions worldwide — the symptoms can be overwhelming and profoundly impact various parts of your life. But the good news is that effective treatments are available to help manage and navigate the challenges of BPD. If you or one of your loved ones […]

Grow Therapy therapist Gregorio (Greg) Lozano III LPC By Greg Lozano, LPC

Updated on Jan 12, 2024

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that affects millions worldwide — the symptoms can be overwhelming and profoundly impact various parts of your life. But the good news is that effective treatments are available to help manage and navigate the challenges of BPD.

If you or one of your loved ones struggle with BPD, you understand its unique challenges. It can feel isolating and frustrating, as others may not fully comprehend what you’re going through or the difficulties you face in maintaining emotional balance and stability. That’s why it’s essential to seek the support of a therapist specializing in treating BPD. They can provide the expertise and guidance necessary to help you navigate this complex condition.

Understanding BPD

Borderline personality disorder, referred to as BPD, is a mental health condition affecting thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It’s estimated to affect around 1.6% of the general population, and nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women. People with BPD may struggle with regulating their emotions and maintaining stable relationships. This can lead to intense mood swings, impulsivity, and difficulties with self-image. BPD is a mood disorder that requires professional diagnosis and treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

While the exact start of BPD symptoms varies from person to person, it’s generally observed that the signs and symptoms of BPD become more apparent during later teens or early adulthood.

Some common signs of BPD include:

Symptoms of BPD can vary from person to person: While one person with BPD may experience occasional mood swings and a moderate fear of abandonment, another may have frequent and intense mood swings and an overwhelming fear of abandonment.

What Causes BPD?

The exact cause of BPD isn’t known, but genetic, family, and social factors can contribute. Risk factors for BPD include mental health issues such as:

These stressors can increase the chances of developing BPD, although they don’t guarantee it. Symptoms may progress or resolve with time.

Treatments

While there is no known cure for BPD, effective treatments are available to help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Psychotherapy, specifically dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is a type of therapy that’s widely recognized as the most effective treatment for BPD. DBT focuses on developing essential skills for emotion management, distress tolerance, relationship improvement, and mindfulness cultivation. In therapy, a holistic approach is commonly taken, considering your overall well-being, including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. 

With proper treatment and support, you can develop better coping skills, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

In addition to psychotherapy, mental health professionals may prescribe medications specifically targeting symptoms commonly associated with BPD, such as depression, anxiety, or impulsivity. 

Mental health professionals will help you to find the right combination of therapies and support that works best for you. Treatment can take the form of individual therapy or family therapy. With proper treatment and support, you can develop better coping skills, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

La Tisha San Pedro-Lintag, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) with Grow Therapy, says that you should “look for a therapist that you feel comfortable with. At the end of the day, I tell my clients, ‘Our time together is a sacred space where you get a chance to show up authentically. If you don’t feel like you can do that, then we should explore why.’ It’s important for a client to have an idea of what they’re looking for in a therapist. There are various theoretical orientations such CBT, DBT, humanistic, attachment, etc. There’s no right or wrong orientation, but as a client you may have preference and that’s OK.”

When Should You Seek Treatment for BPD?

If you are dealing with BPD, seeking help from a therapist can be an immensely valuable step towards improving your well-being and finding the support you need. Therapists who are experienced in working with BPD can provide the guidance and tools necessary to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

If you’re wondering when to seek treatment for BPD, the answer is as soon as possible. Whether you suspect you may have BPD or have already been diagnosed, seeking treatment is a proactive step towards better mental health. Therapy can be beneficial if you experience significant distress, relationship difficulties, or struggle to regulate your emotions. Remember, you don’t have to face these challenges alone.

San Pedro-Lintag says, “Finding a therapist early on can help someone navigate life with a diagnosis of BPD. Working with a therapist can help you navigate relationships, especially with friends and family, which often can be strained as a result of BPD symptoms. Overall, working with a therapist early on can help you learn skills to manage anger, stop self-harming behavior, and improve overall life functioning.”

How Can a Therapist Help You Manage Your BPD Symptoms?

A therapist specializing in BPD can provide invaluable support in managing your symptoms and improving your overall well-being. They are trained to understand the unique challenges associated with BPD and can offer tailored guidance and strategies to help you cope. Whether through DBT or other evidence-based approaches, therapists can help you regulate your emotions, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve your relationships. By providing a non-judgmental and supportive environment, therapists empower you to navigate challenges and work towards a more fulfilling and balanced life.

Talking About Your Feelings and Experiences

Your therapist will provide a confidential and safe space for you to express your thoughts, emotions, and experiences. They will actively listen and offer understanding without judgment. Sharing your feelings openly can help you gain clarity and insight into your BPD symptoms.

Setting Goals Together

In collaboration with your therapist, you will identify the areas of your life you want to improve or the specific BPD symptoms you’d like to manage. Together, you’ll set realistic and achievable goals aligning with your aspirations and well-being.

Learning Helpful Skills

Therapists specializing in BPD employ various therapeutic techniques to teach you valuable skills for emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness. 

Checking Progress

During each session, your therapist will assess your progress toward your goals. They will provide feedback, celebrate your achievements, and address any setbacks or challenges you may encounter. Regular progress checks will help you stay on track and adjust as needed.

Keeping Things Private

Confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of therapy. Your therapist will keep your discussions private, ensuring that your personal information remains confidential unless there is a concern for your safety or the safety of others. This creates a safe and trusting environment for open communication.

Long-Term Help

BPD therapy is often a long-term commitment, as managing the associated symptoms can take time. Your therapist will work with you to establish a treatment plan with a timeline suited to your needs. They will support you throughout your journey to help ensure long-term stability and well-being.

Remember, each therapy session is a collaborative effort between you and your therapist. With their expertise and your active participation, you can make significant progress in managing your BPD symptoms, enhancing your relationships, and leading a more fulfilling life.

How to Find a BPD Therapist Near You

You can choose between in-person or online sessions when searching for a therapist. Both formats have advantages, and it’s important to find the one that best suits your needs. 

In-Person Therapy

In-person therapy involves face-to-face interaction, creating a more personal connection with your therapist. It can be preferable for some to have their therapist physically present during their sessions, providing an opportunity for non-verbal communication. In-person therapy also allows a dedicated space to focus entirely on your therapy without distractions.

Online Therapy

Online therapy offers convenience and flexibility. You can access therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home, which can be particularly beneficial if you have mobility issues, live in a remote area, or have a busy schedule. Online therapy, also known as telehealth, provides a wider pool of therapists to choose from, as you aren’t limited to your geographical location.

How Grow Therapy Can Help

Finding a licensed therapist who specializes in BPD near you can feel overwhelming. Still, there are resources available to make the process easier. One such resource is Grow Therapy, a platform dedicated to connecting people with the right therapists for their needs. 

There is a comprehensive directory of licensed therapists, including those experienced in treating BPD. The platform lets you search for therapists in your area or explore online therapy options. You can browse through therapist profiles, read about their expertise, and learn more about their therapeutic approach.

The platform has helpful filters to narrow your search based on criteria such as insurance acceptance, therapy modality, and more.

Questions to Ask a Therapist

Before choosing one therapist over another, consider asking the following questions:

How Much Experience Do You Have in Treating BPD?

Knowing the therapist’s experience with BPD is important. Inquire about their years of experience working with BPD and how many cases they have treated. This will give you confidence in their ability to understand and address the complexities of BPD.

What Methods Will You Use to Help Me?

Therapists use various approaches when treating BPD — it can be helpful to gain an upfront understanding of what methods may be adopted for your circumstance. Ask about their therapeutic techniques, such as DBT, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or psychodynamic therapy. This will give you insight into their approach and whether it aligns with your treatment goals.

How Will You Customize My Treatment?

Each person with BPD is unique, and a personalized treatment plan is essential for success. Inquire about how the therapist will tailor their approach to address your specific needs and goals. Ask how they consider your individual circumstances, strengths, and challenges to ensure that your treatment is effective and meaningful.

How Often Would I Have Therapy Sessions for BPD?

Discuss the frequency of therapy sessions and ask for recommendations based on your individual needs. Regular therapy sessions are generally beneficial for progress, but it’s important to understand the therapist’s approach to session frequency and whether it aligns with your preferences and availability.

By asking these questions and providing relevant information, you can gather the necessary details to make an informed decision and ensure that the therapist’s expertise and approach align with your needs for effective treatment of BPD. Remember, open communication is essential in establishing a collaborative therapeutic relationship and promoting positive outcomes.

Help is Readily Available

Borderline Personality Disorder is a common mental illness affecting millions of people. Effective treatment and support from mental health professionals who understand the condition are crucial for managing the condition and enhancing overall well-being. Without proper treatment, BPD can significantly impact personal relationships, self-esteem, academic or work performance, and overall quality of life. Untreated symptoms can lead to impulsive behavior, intensify mood swings, raise the risk of substance abuse, and even contribute to thoughts or actions of self-harm.

Don’t let BPD go untreated — contact a specialized therapist with extensive experience who can offer the necessary care and support. Use Grow Therapy’s search tool to find a therapist who specializes in BPD and is readily available in your area. 

Frequently Asked Questions

About the author
Grow Therapy therapist Gregorio (Greg) Lozano III LPC Greg Lozano, LPC

Greg Lozano is a licensed professional counselor who specializes in working with individuals with severe mental illnesses such as depressive, bipolar, schizophrenia, and substance abuse conditions.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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