This article is published in the book:

"Psych 101 -
What you didn't learn in nursing school."

by Kathi Stringer
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0615193137

What Kind of Therapy is Best for You?

Written by Kathi Stringer

Before making that phone call for a therapist, there are a couple of things to consider, the type of therapy and the expense. We’ll go over each and their approaches so that you can judge what may be best for you. Also, these suggestions are designed for borderline personality disorder as the principal diagnosis.

The two main therapeutic treatments for borderline personality disorder are Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT has the advantage since empirical evidence lends proof it is the most successful for treating borderline personality disorder. The focus on DBT is acceptance vs. change. The therapists are trained to help you with your ‘thinking’ process for problem solving in conjunction with getting validation. The treatment works on the postulation that borderline behavior stems from poor emotional regulation and slow return to baseline once aroused. DBT is similar to cognitive behavior therapy with added features. Figure on once weekly group sessions and well as once weekly individual sessions along with homework assignments.

If you need firm structure, then this may be your best choice.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

This therapy is more flexible and not as rigged as DBT and it works around several components, which are exploration, interpretation, confrontation, clarification and support. The therapist gives special attention to the ‘therapist and client relationship’ looking for clues from the behavior a client brings into the office. Problems in the here-and-now are addressed for immediate action and afterward unresolved issues from the past are examined. Supportive measures of validation, empathy, listening, and offering comfort are offered to help nurture the client. Psychodynamic psychotherapy has the advantage of helping the client with insight by bringing the unconscious into the conscious where it can be examined and reworked. When this happens the therapist is able to offer something more attractive for the client.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy has the advantage of the ‘Parent and Child’ dyad for those clients that suffer from separation and loss from early childhood.

Crazy Therapies

As with any therapy, be careful of what you are getting yourself into. There are just about as many therapies out there as there are therapists. For an in depth look at how crazy some of them can get, this would be a good read, “Crazy Therapies.” [Book Link]


1. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder [Book Link]

2. Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder [Book Link]

3. Psychiatric Annals, June 2002

4. Harvard Letter, March 2002

5. Crazy Therapies [Book Link]