Personality Disorder Clinic

What is Personality Disorder?

‘Personality Disorder’ is a term that is commonly used in mental health services to describe a collection of difficulties that include:

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  • Thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that cause you, or those around you, significant problems in daily life. For example, you may feel unable to trust others or you may often feel abandoned and rejected, resulting in extreme behaviours in relationships.
  • Thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that cause significant problems across different aspects of your life. You may struggle to start or keep friendships, to control your feelings and behaviour or get on with people at work, for example.
  • Having these problems for a long time. These difficult patterns may have started when you were a child or teenager and have carried on into your life as an adult.

At Beacon House, we view ‘Personality Disorder’ through the lens of ‘Developmental Trauma’. This means that we believe that the difficulties that people experience in adulthood are ‘rooted’ in disruptions in the relationship that they had with those that were responsible for caring for them when they were young children. In our experience, individuals who come to us with the difficulties described above have often suffered repeated, severe, interpersonal trauma (such as sexual, emotional and physical abuse), neglect during childhood, and repeated loss and abandonment. Individuals who have had these experiences often notice some or all of the following difficulties in adulthood:

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  • Problems in regulating their feelings and actions – leading to extreme emotional high and lows and self-destructive behaviours to cope with daily life.
  • Difficulties in memory and making sense of themselves – leaving the person with a poor or fragmented sense of identity, memory gaps and a confused ‘life story’.
  • Trusting others feels frightening – making stable, caring, intimate relationships hard to tolerate.
  • Experiencing a long-lasting negative self-image which often includes feelings of guilt, shame, badness and being ‘flawed’ beyond repair.

What to expect from the Beacon House Personality Disorder Service

Our Personality Disorder service includes comprehensive assessment, formulation and intervention.

Assessment

The first step is to attend an initial consultation with one of the Beacon House Psychologists who specialises in working with Personality Disorder. This initial appointment will last for one hour, and will be an opportunity for us to identify your needs and match you to the right therapist for you (this may not be the therapist who you meet for the initial consultation). If you have had contact with mental health services within the NHS, you may already have a diagnosis of Personality Disorder. Alternatively, you may not have been formally given this diagnosis, but may have noticed some of the signs yourself.

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Formulation

Once you have been allocated to a therapist with the right skills and expertise to meet your needs, you will usually be able to start meeting with them within one to two weeks. This is where the ‘Formulation’ stage will take place. Formulation is a psychological method for developing an understanding of why someone has developed a certain set of difficulties. The formulation that is developed between yourself and your therapist will take in to account your unique life experiences, and the unique way in which you experience your difficulties. You can expect this process to take the first two to four sessions. Your therapist will take a detailed life history from you, and they may also use some questionnaires.

Intervention

Treatment for Personality Disorder takes time, and often needs a combination of therapies and sometimes a team approach. Our experience is that with hope and the right therapeutic support, individuals with Personality Disorder can discover the person who they would like to be.

We offer a range of individual therapeutic interventions for individuals whose difficulties fit with a diagnosis of ‘Personality Disorder’, including:

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) (click here to read more about DBT)
Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) (click here to read more about MBT)
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (click here to read more about CBT)
Eye-Movement Desensitzation and Reprocessing (EMDR) (click here to read more about EMDR)

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Your safety

We have a responsibility to keep you safe throughout your assessment and therapy. If you have harmed yourself, are currently harming yourself, have attempted to take your life in the past, or are currently feeling suicidal, this will not prevent you accessing our services. However, we will ask you to develop a ‘Safety Plan’ with your therapist which details an agreement about who we can share information with, and how much information can be shared. Examples of people that we might want to be in contact with are your GP, your NHS care-coordinator, a family member or friend.

Useful Links

You may find the following sources of information useful:

www.emergenceplus.org.uk

www.mind.org.uk

We accept referrals to our Personality Disorder Clinic from individuals themselves, GP’s, Psychiatrists, NHS teams or any other person wishing to make a referral. To make a referral or ask any questions, please get in touch with us any time Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

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