CBT for Borderline Personality Disorder: Why It Can Be a Great Alternative to DBT

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on May 13, 2023
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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health disorder that affects a significant portion of the population.

It can cause intense emotional dysregulation, feelings of emptiness or abandonment, impulsivity, and a distorted sense of self.

Traditionally, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been the first-line treatment option. However, as with any condition, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be a great alternative for individuals seeking help.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is qualified to write about CBT for borderline personality disorder because they have extensive knowledge, clinical practice, and experience in the mental health field.

We understand the importance of technology in providing effective mental health solutions, as well as the various concerns technology and mental health bring up when used together.

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why someone struggling with BPD may want CBT instead of DBT online therapy and when it can be an excellent option.

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1. Trauma-Focus

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CBT is a great option for individuals with BPD who have experienced significant trauma.

Using CBT, a cognitive behavioral therapist works to help clients identify, process, and cope with the emotions and behaviors that result from traumatic experiences.

This method allows the client to address the root cause of their BPD symptoms in a safe and supportive environment. CBT-based trauma therapy can help clients learn how to self-soothe, manage overwhelming emotions, and change negative thought patterns via cognitive therapy restructuring techniques.

2. Clear Goals

One of the primary differences between DBT and CBT is that DBT is multiple-modal and focuses on multiple different goals at once.

In contrast, CBT is more focused on a specific goal and has clear milestones.

This goal-oriented approach can be a great option for individuals who want to work through their issues more quickly.

Clients who prefer more structure and a more task-focused approach will find CBT to be an excellent option for borderline personality disorder treatment.

3. Availability

In many areas, DBT clinics and programs can be limited or lack availability.

Individuals who want to work on their BPD symptoms may prefer CBT due to its widespread availability. Unlike DBT, CBT is more accessible to individuals who don’t have access to specialized clinics or therapists that offer DBT services to treat borderline personality disorder.

4. Evidence-Based

CBT is an evidence-based therapy that is shown to be effective in treating numerous mental health disorders, including BPD.

Clients who prefer to work with a therapist who uses evidence-based approaches will find CBT to be an excellent option.

Research1 has shown that CBT-based interventions have been shown to help individuals with BPD reduce symptoms, decrease their suicidal behavior and ideation, and improve their overall quality of life.

5. Financial Considerations

CBT can be a more cost-effective option for those seeking help. The length of treatment typically ranges from 12-20 sessions, and because it’s widely available, it can be easier to find a therapist who accepts insurance and can accommodate a flexible schedule.

Fundamental Concepts in Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy for Personality Disorder

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

It is based on the idea that our thoughts influence our emotions and behaviors and that by changing our thoughts we can change our emotions and behaviors via a therapeutic relationship.

  • The key principles of CBT for personality disorder are problem-oriented and focus on the present.
  • Unlike some other talking therapies, it does not focus on past experiences or events. Instead, it looks at how current thinking patterns may be contributing to the person’s difficulties.
  • The goal of CBT is to help people identify and challenge unhelpful thinking and impulsive behavior patterns so they can develop more helpful ways of thinking and behaving.
  • CBT also involves learning new skills such as relaxation techniques, problem-solving strategies, and communication skills which can help people manage their symptoms more effectively. With regular practice, these skills can help people gain greater control over their emotions and behavior to lead healthier lives.

If you are struggling with mental health issues related to a personality disorder, consider seeking professional help from a qualified therapist who specializes in CBT for personality disorders. With the right support and guidance, you can learn how to manage your symptoms more effectively so you can live a happier life.

Intro CBT Course for Beginners

If you want to learn more about CBT, especially its principles and basic techniques, you may want to try a CBT introductory course.

Udemy offers an “Introduction to CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” course that gives you the tools to be your own counselor and CBT therapist. With a grade of 4.3 out of 5 from more than 18,981 happy students, you’ll learn how to recognize and change negative patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting.

The intro CBT course will give you a better understanding of how CBT works, which will help you keep learning and grow as a person. At the end, you’ll get a certificate showing that you’ve learned how to use CBT techniques in your life.

Overview of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT specifically designed for people with BPD. DBT was the first psychotherapy shown in controlled trials to be effective with BPD.

It has since been adapted and tested for a wide range of other difficult-to-treat mental health conditions. DBT focuses on helping people accept themselves while also working to change unhealthy behaviors.

Research generally supports the conclusion that CBT is an effective treatment modality for reducing symptoms and enhancing functional outcomes among patients with BPD.

One study2 revealed that those in CBT treatment for a year for BPD reported better relationships, improved self-esteem, fewer suicidal thoughts, and less impulsivity than those who did not receive treatment.

How to Find a Qualified Therapist to Provide CBT Services

Finding a qualified therapist to provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) services can be an essential step in improving mental health and overall well-being. CBT is an evidence-based treatment that has been proven effective for various mental health conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). To help you find the right therapist, here’s a simple process to follow:

  • Research online platforms: Utilize reputable online directories and platforms, such as Psychology Today or GoodTherapy, to find therapists specializing in CBT.
  • Verify credentials: Ensure the therapist holds a valid license and has relevant experience in providing CBT services.
  • Read reviews: Check client testimonials and reviews to gain insights into the therapist’s expertise and approach.
  • Inquire about insurance: Contact potential therapists to verify whether they accept your insurance plan, or discuss alternative payment options.
  • Schedule a consultation: Many therapists offer initial consultations, either free or at a reduced cost, allowing you to assess their suitability before committing to ongoing sessions.

When searching for CBT resources specifically for BPD, consider the following:

  1. National Education Alliance for BPD: This organization provides comprehensive information on BPD, including CBT resources and a directory of therapists specializing in BPD treatment.
  2. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies: ABCT offers a “Find a CBT Therapist” directory, enabling you to search for therapists with expertise in treating BPD using CBT techniques.
  3. Behavioral Tech: Founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – a form of CBT specifically designed for BPD – this organization offers resources, training, and a directory of certified DBT therapists.

By following these steps and utilizing the provided resources, you can confidently find a qualified therapist to provide CBT services tailored to your unique mental health needs. Remember, the right therapist can empower you with the tools and strategies to effectively manage BPD and foster emotional stability in your life.

How to Find a BPD Clinician on Zocdoc, Step by Step

Zocdoc is an easy-to-use website that helps people find and book appointments with doctors.

Zocdoc makes it easy to find the right doctor, therapist, or specialist for your needs by having a large database of doctors, therapists, and experts.

The platform also lets users sort search results by insurance, area, and specialty. This makes sure that each user has a personalized experience. Zocdoc also has verified patient reviews that tell you about the standard of care each professional gives. This makes it the “Yelp” or “Google” of mental health.

  1. Go to the Zocdoc website: Go to Zocdoc to start looking for a good doctor, therapist, or counselor in your area who can help with BPD.
  2. Search for BPD experts: In the search bar, type “Borderline Personality Disorder” or “BPD Therapist” and enter your address to find BPD experts near you.
  3. Filter results: Use the tools to narrow down your search based on in-network insurance coverage, distance, availability, gender, and languages spoken, among other things. This will help you find a healthcare provider who is both in-network and meets your tastes and needs.
  4. Read about it: You can learn about each provider’s skills, bedside manner, and general quality of care by reading verified patient reviews. This will help you decide if a certain healthcare provider is the right one for your mental health needs.
  5. Book an appointment: Once you’ve found a good BPD clinician, hit the “Book Online” button to set up an appointment. You’ll be asked to pick a date and time, give your contact information, and explain why you want to come.
  6. Prepare for your appointment: Gather your medical records, insurance information, and a list of questions or worries you’d like to ask your doctor. This will make sure that your meeting goes well.
  7. Attend your appointment: Come to your scheduled appointment with the BPD clinician you’ve chosen ready to talk about your mental health issues and start your path to healing.

By doing these things, you can use Zocdoc to find the right mental health provider to help you with your Borderline Personality Disorder.

Remember to talk openly with the healthcare worker you choose and to take charge of your mental health. With the right help, you can deal with BPD’s many challenges and work toward a better, more balanced life.

What to Expect During CBT Sessions

CBT Counseling Role-Play - Clients with Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping people understand their thoughts and feelings. It can help people manage mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • During CBT sessions, your therapist will work with you to identify negative thoughts and behaviors that are contributing to your mental health issues. They will then help you develop strategies to replace those negative thoughts and behaviors with healthier ones.
  • Your therapist may also use different techniques during CBT sessions, such as cognitive restructuring or exposure therapy. Cognitive restructuring helps you identify and challenge unhelpful thinking patterns. Exposure therapy helps you confront the things that trigger your anxiety or fear in a safe environment.
  • Your therapist will also set goals for each session. These goals may be short-term goals like managing triggers for relapse or long-term goals like developing better-coping skills. Your therapist will work with you to create an individualized plan that meets your needs and helps you reach your goals.

Overall, CBT is a helpful tool for managing mental health issues, reducing suicidal behavior, and improving overall well-being. With the help of a qualified therapist, it can help you learn how to better manage difficult emotions and make positive changes in your life.

Alternatives to CBT for BPD Symptoms

If you’re looking for alternatives to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms, there are several options.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan specifically for people with BPD and suicidal thoughts. It is similar to CBT but focuses more on mindfulness and acceptance of emotions.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another alternative that helps people learn how to accept their feelings without judgment or trying to change them.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy is also an option, which looks at the unconscious mind and how it affects behavior.
  • Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT), Schema-Focused Therapy (SFT), and Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) are other therapies that have been used to treat BPD symptoms.
  • Additionally, some people find relief from natural treatments such as herbs or lifestyle changes like exercise or yoga.

Summary of Treatment Options for Those with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for those with BPD.

The most common and effective treatments include psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

  1. Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for BPD and includes various types of talk therapy such as cognitive therapies such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT helps individuals learn how to better regulate their emotions and manage stress. It also teaches skills such as problem-solving and communication techniques.
  2. Medication can also be used to help manage depressive symptoms because of BPD. Mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants are all commonly prescribed for people with BPD. However, it’s important to note that medication should always be taken in conjunction with psychotherapy for the best results.
  3. Finally, lifestyle changes can also help those with BPD manage their symptoms. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.

Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT)

Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected and can affect each other.

CBGT involves working with a group of people to identify and challenge unhelpful beliefs and behaviors. The goal is to help individuals learn new ways of thinking and behaving to improve their mental health.

In CBGT, the therapist will lead the group through activities such as role-playing, discussion, problem-solving, relaxation techniques, other skills training, and more. The therapist will also provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Through this process, individuals can learn how to better manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.

CBT for Borderline Personality Disorder Conclusion:

In conclusion, BPD is a challenging disorder to manage. While DBT has traditionally been the first-line treatment option, CBT can be a great alternative for individuals seeking help for mental disorders.

CBT’s goal-oriented approach, widespread availability, evidenced-based nature, cost-effectiveness, and trauma-focused model make it a compelling option for those looking for mental health therapy.

If you’re considering therapy for BPD, it’s essential to take time to research different kinds of treatments and therapists to help you find the best fit.

You may also want to learn about your personality and career strengths via TraitLab, a scientific personality test we’ve tested, reviewed, and recommend.

Finally, our team would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment with your questions or suggestions as to what mental health product, software, or app Online Mental Health Reviews should buy and review next. If you have a discount or coupon code, please be sure to share below as well so everyone can benefit!

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$60-$90 / Week

Overall, BetterHelp conveniently provides busy professionals with various live therapy options to make it the best online therapy in terms of value per dollar.

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Sources

  1. Matusiewicz, A. K., Hopwood, C. J., Banducci, A. N., & Lejuez, C. (2010, September). The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Personality Disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 657–685. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.007
  2. Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. Guilford Press.

If You Are In Crisis

If you find yourself in a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session might not be the safest option. If you need immediate assistance, please call 911. This includes situations where you or someone else may be at risk of harm. If you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm, dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which provides 24/7 support.

Another helpful resource is the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). You can call them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential assistance. SAMHSA’s helpline offers 24/7 support, 365 days a year, connecting individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues to treatment resources and information.

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