How to Fill Out a DBT Pros and Cons Worksheet

Do you have trouble managing your intense emotions and sometimes make impulsive decisions about important things? Do you later find yourself dealing with the regret and a catastrophe that needs damage control? Have you burned one too many bridges?

The DBT Pros and Cons Worksheet may prove to be a helpful tool for you. It certainly has been to me.

In the past you may have sat down and considered the pros and cons of the situation before proceeding. Typically, people split a sheet of paper down the middle and consider the pros and cons of moving forward with a certain action. With the DBT version of this process, we take it a step further.

In this video, I give a fictitious example of Penelope, a young woman who is considering quitting her new job as a barista, because she is dealing with anxiety and interpersonal issues. Step-by-step, I show you how Penelope might fill out one of these worksheets and gain helpful insights.

Give it a watch, and let me know what you think. Have you ever filled out one of these worksheets? Might you give it a try?

Thanks for reading and watching.

More soon.

In kindness,

BPD: Overcoming Constant Crisis Mode

Hello Dear HFBPD Readers,

This week, I invite you to read my post over at the Roanne Program site.  It's about overcoming the constant crisis mode that those with Borderline Personality Disorder often find themselves in.  You may wonder if you can ever get out.  I did, and I want to encourage you.

Check out the article "BPD: Overcoming the Constant Crisis," and let me know what you think.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Want to be even more connected to the Healing From BPD community?

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Thanks for reading.

More Soon.

In kindness,

Wait, is that considered self-harm? (NSSI Non-Suicidal Self-Injury)

TRIGGER WARNING: In this post, I will be talking about self-harm and self-injury.

I think that one of the reasons why it was so difficult for me to receive an accurate diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is because I did not have any overt self-harm behaviors. It’s probably also one of the reasons why I doubted that I had BPD. I had read books by other women who had the condition and some who had even overcome it, (see the Resources page for recommended titles), but until I was in an intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment program and looked at the criteria for the diagnosis (and realized that self-harm was one of many variables that didn’t necessarily have to be present), that I realized I did have BPD.

I didn’t realize until later that I did, in fact, engage in some passive self-harm behaviors that I later shared with my therapist. This included not taking care of myself by responding to hazards, such as slippers that were really worn. I would get depressed and not care about myself, and even though I knew that my worn slippers often cause me to slip and fall and get cuts and bruises, I opted to allow that to happen and to be injured rather than to take care of myself and get a new pair of slippers. I know this may sound really confusing or bizarre for someone who does not have this disorder or who has never experienced anything like this type of behavior. The bottom line was, with things like this, and, for example, not taking safety precautions to prevent myself from getting burned while cooking, all came back to the same underlying problem: I believed I deserved to be punished, and I created opportunities for that to happen, albeit in a passive way.

So, while I wasn't actively cutting or burning myself, which are the more typical, well known, deliberate self-harm behaviors, I was still technically engaging forms of self-harm. I also learned that slapping yourself on the head when frustrated and angry at yourself also counts.  I imagine I can draw the connection to having been abused as a child to believing that it was okay and warranted to abuse myself. It took a lot of intentional generation of self-love, talk therapy, a willingness to discover a feeling of connection to something greater than myself, and intensive DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) to overcome this type of behavior.

Perhaps even more troublesome than the passive physical self-harm for me was the more overt self-sabotaging. Because it often felt uncomfortable or even awkward to experience success or “things going right,” I often found myself having crisis after crisis, whether it be in relationships, school, or work. There was always some type of drama, and I was always at the center of it. 

The crisis almost always left me feeling desperate and afraid, wanting someone to come and rescue me, take care of me, reassure me, and make me feel whole. I attempted to have all of these needs met by repeatedly showing up in the emergency room and ultimately being referred to psychiatric services. As you can imagine, these things did not fill the void.

Going to the hospital did make me feel safe. I did felt taken care of. I did feel rescued. But I didn’t feel reassured and whole. Those were things that I could only give myself. And, they took time. Lots of it. And, it didn’t come easy. I really had to work hard for it. My life looks very different now than it did three years ago. I am in recovery and actually teaching these skills once a week online to students all over the world at DBT Path with licensed therapist Amanda Smith, LMSW.

I consider it a great privilege that the universe now allows me to connect with men and women all over the globe who are dealing with the issues that come up when you are emotionally sensitive, have difficulty regulating your emotions, and are ready to make real changes. I no longer engage in the passive self-harm nor the self-sabotaging behaviors.  Believe me when I tell you that if *I* can do it, I have hope that YOU can do it, too.

It took hitting my own personal rock bottom to really take seriously that I needed to change my life. What will it take for you? What will it take for you to realize how precious and valuable and amazing you are? What will it take for you to realize that you are worth the time and effort to heal the wounds of your past so that you can build a life worth living? What can you do to support your healing recovery goals?

Thank you for reading.
More soon.

In kindness,

Check out this article and free downloadable PDF on Understanding Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI).  Share it with those you love it they need help understanding.

Please Don't Call Us "Borderlines" | BPD and Stigma

As people with borderline personality disorder, or who are in recovery from BPD, or who consider ourselves emotionally sensitive, you can probably relate to my disdain whenever we, as human beings, are referred to as “borderlines.” There is an insensitivity about it that bothers me. To refer to someone in this way can be highly depersonalizing and stigmatizing. After all, we don’t refer to people who have cancer as “cancers.” This would be considered highly inappropriate and unkind. In the mental health world referring to someone who has schizophrenia as the “schizo,” would also be inappropriate and unkind.

A person who suffers from borderline personality disorder is just that – a person who has borderline personality disorder. Part of my work on the web in terms of advocacy for social change in the mental health world, as a consumer of services who has successfully overcome a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and who no longer meets the criteria, is to call out sometimes well-meaning, sometimes not so well-meaning writers of articles in which we are referred to in dehumanizing ways. Sometimes articles are written by loved ones of those who suffer from BPD, such as lovers or former lovers, spouses, friends, siblings, parents, etc. Other times articles are written by professionals in the field, such as clinicians, therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, for example.

Unfortunately I have seen, even recently, a significant number of professionals perpetuating dehumanizing stigma by using certain labels such as “borderlines,” or “non-bpds” to describe those who have the condition versus those who do not. Again in the example of cancer, could you imagine reading an article in which sufferers of cancer are referred to as “cancers,” and their loved ones are referred to as “non-cancers”?

I know a lot of people aren’t bothered by this. I have even had a mental health professional explain to me that these terms are used in the context of certain publications in order to easily differentiate who is being spoken about. This doesn’t make it feel any more acceptable to me, personally. Perhaps it’s my heightened sensitivity and my awareness of the discrimination and unfair treatment that many patients, once having received the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, experience and a system that still does not fully embrace the concept that not all people with BPD are manipulative or dangerous. The system also hasn’t fully embraced that we have the ability to recover, and truly build lives worth living, as has been so much of the work and intention of Dr. Marshall Linehan, who created DBT to help us get to this place.

So what are your thoughts on the use of terms such as “borderlines,” and “non-BPDs”? Does it bother you? If so, why? If not, why?

I look forward to your thoughts on this topic.

Thank you for reading.

More soon.

In kindness,


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