Friday, February 28, 2014

Personality Disorder? There Is Hope!

When therapists attempt to achieve behavior changes in their clients, they usually assume the absence of a personality disorder. 

It is, after all, a major task to work with clients in making significant life changes without going through the hurdle of addressing a personality disorder as well. People with personality disorders often lack the feeling of distress that motivates major changes within the therapeutic setting.

However, when the focus is on specific behaviors that can be changed to bring about smoother life adjustments, therapists can have great success in working with people who have personality disorders. People can recognize when they have a recurrent pattern of difficulty in their lives – and this recognition can serve as the motivator for change in therapy. A trained professional therapist is able to find those areas that help a client recognize the need for change.  For example, people with dependent personality disorder may come to understand that they may well lose their significant relationship unless some changes occur in their need to be taken care of. While the person’s internal needs for dependency may persist even after the therapeutic intervention, changes in the person’s overt behavior can go a long way in resolving the situation. When the outer behaviors are changed, the internal needs may then undergo adjustments in a healthier direction.

People with paranoid personality disorder, for example, can activate their sensitivity so that they become attuned to the needs of other people in a productive way. People with schizotypal personality disorder can transform a pattern of odd beliefs into a more creative and socially approved set of responses. Those with borderline personalities can use their tendency toward rapidly shifting moods to being more spontaneous (and sensible) in their responses toward others. Negative symptoms associated with these disorders can be turned into positive qualities which help the person in adapting to life’s demands.

A trained professional therapist is able to provide a setting in which seemingly intractable problems can be addressed. A feeling of safety and trust is built between the therapist and client – and this opens the door to trying new behaviors, with support, which have seemed impossible until now. A whole new world awaits those who give it a try.

Do you think you or someone you love suffers with a personality disorder? We can help. Please visit our site at or call us at 941-907-0525 for a free phone consultation.