Attention Clinicians: People With BPD Need Validation, Non-Judgment, and Compassion (Borderline Personality Disorder)

What I am about to write in this post will come as no surprise to those of you who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but it may be helpful for those who treating you or who have careers ahead of them that will allow them to do so.

Starting with its very name, the diagnosis is often misunderstood, stigmatized, and feared, and the patients who bear its name on their records are often lumped into a group of manipulative, untreatable consumers of the psychiatric system.  As a person who no longer meets the criteria for a BPD diagnosis and who has substantial contact with others around the world who have BPD or have overcome it, I am here to tell you that I have been catching promising glimpses of hope that this is all starting to shift.

I was invited to speak on Friday at the Berkeley Cognitive Behavior Therapy Clinic by Dr. Patricia Zurita Ona, with whom I connected with last year around the time that I was getting ready to release my book Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder: My Journey Out Of Hell Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She invited me to speak to a group of twenty students at the doctorate level of psychology on Borderline Personality Disorder and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  I was nervous but happy to do so.
It's tough to see in this pic, but that's me,
joining the group  at Berkeley CBT Clinic
via Skype, projected onto the wall.

Thank you Rich for this closeup of the screen.

As an advocate for my community -- those suffering from BPD, those on the road of recovery, and everyone in-between, I believe that it is essential the we encourage, educate and inspire new psychologists entering the field about working with the BPD population.

As part of my preparation for the presentation, I asked many of my readers via this site's Facebook page to chime in on the following question:

What would YOU like me to say on your behalf? ....

Hello Dear Ones, Tomorrow I'll be doing a presentation in front of a class of students who are working to become psychologists (and I believe psychiatrists, too) at the Berkeley CBT Clinic here in California. This is a group of enthusiastic, new practitioners who are entering into the field wanting to help others and make a difference. They have also likely been exposed to stereotypes and stigmas associated with Borderline Personality Disorder and may be nervous or hesitant to work with our population because of this.

If you could tell them one thing to encourage them in a direction that reduces stigma and helps create an atmosphere of hope and healing for those with BPD as they set out to start their careers, what would you say? I'd love to share your responses with this group tomorrow, and I'll let you know how it goes.
♥ Debbie

Their responses moved me, as many were so raw, vulnerable, and willing to be incredibly open.  I've selected some to share with you here, but you can read them all the Facebook page if you'd like.

The above answers, as with all of the rest of those posted by my readers, were shared with the students.  They all received a link so that they could review the entire thread.

The doctoral students asked me a number of questions, such as "When did you finally commit to DBT and why?," and "What advice do you have for a provider who is feeling burned out?"  I was really impressed with their interest and commitment to providing excellent care.

After the presentation, I received this kind tweet from the program's director, Dr. Patricia Zurita Ona:

And the next day this one from one of the clinicians, Charlie:

It is my pleasure to be doing this work, as I believe it really does many an impact and a difference lives of all of my connections around the world who have BPD, their loved ones and families, and those who treat them.

Years ago, I never imagined I would be in a position to do this, so please have hope that your future is bright, too.

Thank you for reading.
More soon.

If your organization is interested in having Debbie present in person or via Skype, click here.


  1. Thank you so much for doing this, and good for those clinicians for being open and willing to learn. I am so grateful for my therapist - he has treated patients with BPD for many years. He has told me that in the past, he has had colleagues try to pass off BPD patients to him, because they didn't want to deal with them. : (

    1. Wow. Thank you so much for this comment, Becky! ♥

  2. What a horrible thing for a therapist to say! Things definitely need to change! Thanks, Debbie, for all the work you do to bring awareness to BPD and reduce stigma.

  3. You're amazing Debbie. Thank you for all the hard work you do to help us BPD patients and to reduce stigma in society. It's nice to have an advocate like you who can speak on behalf of us who are still trying to learn how to live with BPD and reach remission. Thanks for your daily posts and giving me hope that I can keep fighting, as many times I just want to give up. Thank you again Debbie for giving us a voice!! ♥

    1. Vikki, what a kind thing to say. Thanks for reading and for commenting. I appreciate it! ♥

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Because of you (when I found your blog) I'm smiling right now and I even start my blog again. I'm having Borderline Personality Disorder and I'm going really hard times right now. I just started therapy and I hope it's going to work for me and like they all say the beginning it's always hard. :)

    1. So glad you are now a part of this community, Nipsukka! ♥

  5. Oh boy, this reminds me of tweets by so-claimed "Doctor" Brownlow - I have those screenshots saved on my computer.

    In any case, I feel fortunate to have a medical team and support system of friends who are very open, informed and supportive individuals. It truly helps while learning to overcome or cope with emotional regulation issues.

    I truly hope that, someday, discussions on mental health issues will be just as open and prominent as physical issues. I do my best to end stigma by telling those in my life, especially new individuals, that whether they need to discuss a broken arm, the flu, or anxiety, it's all the same and welcome.

    It's almost 6:00am here, and I've found myself going through the HFBPD archives... a pleasant break from thinking about my sleep issues. I guess it's nap time, lol :)

    1. Thank you so much, dear Lexi. The archives welcome you. :))



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