Overcoming borderline and addictive problems and making it all the way to the Free Zone is a difficult task for a number of reasons. The most important is the tremendous amount of emotional energy required to become aware of your inner pain. For this reason, supporters are required. As you work your way through this article you will come to see how carefully selected professional therapists can be a substantial help.
It is perhaps too widely known that many behavioral health professionals view people with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) to be “difficult patients.” Many professionals will avoid treating people with these different problems. The reason for this centers on that until recently, a clear understanding of the origins of this problem was not yet available. As a result, the lack of information made treatment difficult. The development of Dr. Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) (1993) and the development of the Membership Self-Help Therapy (MST), have brought new understanding and methods of treatment to people in the Borderline Zone.
The selection of a therapist should be made in a systematic fashion. You can obtain a list of recommendations from your family doctor, your HMO or insurance provider panel, or a friend.
It is important that you interview prospective therapists to determine who best matches your needs. The process of interviewing therapists and asking them questions about their ability to help you will narrow down those who are uncomfortable with being challenged. Such individuals would be relatively ineffective therapists and should be removed from your list. Consider asking the following questions to all prospective therapists who are willing to be questioned:
- How many people with BPD have you treated in the last year?
You want to avoid therapists who have not had a lot of experience with borderline behaviors.
- In your opinion, what causes borderline behaviors or symptoms?
If their explanation differs significantly from the ones described in past articles, consider another therapist.
- What is your policy on between-session phone contact?
You want a therapist who will allow a certain amount of between-session contact. Limits are okay, but no contact is a red flag.
- Would you be willing to give me references of former patients of yours after you have contacted them and asked their permission to use them as references?
This is pushing things a bit. However, it is a measure of how proud therapists are of their work. Confidentiality may make most therapists unwilling to do this, but if they ask their patient’s permission, it can be done.
- What is the prognosis for someone who has borderline symptoms?
What you want to hear is reasonable optimism. No one can give you a guarantee (if they do, skip them). If they hedge their bets too much, it is probably better to move on to someone else.
- Are you willing to make use of the Angry Heart as part of therapy?
If you find this article helpful, your therapist should be willing to make use of the information. If your therapist is absolutely against doing so, this means they want to control the therapy, and our team at BlueSky Behavioral Health would recommend you work with someone else.
Does the therapist share your value system? Are they too conservative or too liberal for you? Are they very formal and proper or very casual and relaxed? Do they see you as a disease entity or as a person? Do you prefer a doctor-knows-best approach or a more interactive style? Know what your own values and preferences are. If you can’t tolerate a doctor-knows-best approach, then stay away from those therapists. On the other hand, if super casual therapists are not going to be able to handle your games, avoid them. Be honest with yourself and your prospective therapist because at the end of the day the goal is to make you better, and if you sense that is not the underlying directive you haven’t found the right fit yet.
It can be hard to find the right therapist for you. Allow one of our BlueSky team members to guide you through the process. We know your time is valuable and we are here to help you make the most of it.