The problem with self-help pages like this is that people often tend to skip to the parts they feel are more relevant to themselves (hence the reason I give all these page titles weird, cryptic names). The problem with doing that is that you will probably be missing the part that will indeed cure you. If you take all the core teachings of BPD and try to mix and match them to the symptoms of BPD, you will only be left feeling confused and even more sceptical than you already were that this type of therapy will work for your BPD. But yet, time and time again, it does. So how is DBT supposed to fix you…
The first main issue here is time. You can’t tell someone it will take X amount of weeks, months, years to fix them because each person is different and will respond differently to treatment. Some take years to get better, while I have seen some of my clients show real-world improvements in just a few months. Then there are the own goals that people will set for themselves if you give them a time-frame, only for them to be left feeling disappointed when they don’t show improvements over a shorter space of time, it’s nearly always going to end in disaster.
The 2nd issue here is psychological understanding. It takes YEARS to become a fully qualified therapist and even longer to be a registered psychologist like myself. The reason for this is because the human brain is a complex thing and if you don’t know what you are doing you could damage a person rather than cure them. So you need to know what you are doing and that takes years of study and practise. I’m no brain box, but I have done over 6 years of university studies to get where I am today. To ask a client to understand that teaching in just a year-long therapy course is not easy.
Just for an example of what I am talking about, let’s take the BPD symptom of ‘Explosive Anger‘. The most logical course of action for the treatment of this disorder is Anger management, right? Well, no. It would indeed be the correct treatment to use if that is all the person suffered with, but it is clear to my trained brain that other things are going on to cause this and we need to tackle them instead. BPD ‘Explosive Anger’ can be aimed inwards towards themselves, or it could even be passive and expressed differently to anger even if that is exactly what it is. Even now, as I type this I can see things are already getting complicated.
The point that I am getting at here is that the more you try and understand DBT teachings, the more complicated and irrelevant it will seem. But yet, DBT teachings sees a 60% success rate in helping people with BPD get their lives back on track. As we talked about last week, DBT is not the only form of treatment for BPD, but it has been proven to be the most successful. If you are doing all the homework in these pages and reading what is being said you will indeed start to see some improvement. No, it’s not guaranteed and you might feel 99% of it is irrelevant to your own symptoms, but that is why I have covered all these symptoms by teaching you the main cores of DBT. You don’t need to understand DBT to get better, you just need to practice its teachings and nothing else.
This Week’s Homework: This week is a tough one for sure. What I would like you to do is to fully understand the BPD symptom of ‘Fear of Abandonment‘. You can find much more information about it on this site, or just look around online, watch some videos and above all, learn what people suggest you do to help combat it. You will find EXACTLY the same things in these self-help pages and most pages will always tell you that DBT teaching is the only way to go. You don’t have to take my word for it that DBT works for BPD, you can do your own research. Just knowing the basics of this core BPD symptom will prove to you these self-help pages can indeed work, provided you follow along with them. (the image is from verywellmind.com and the site is a great resource for this weeks homework).