National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Cognitive-behavioral Therapies (CBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder

a.) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., combines individual therapy, group skills training and team support for therapists.  It is directed at teaching the individual with BPD skills to regulate intense emotional states and diminish self-destructive behaviors.  The core of DBT is the concept of mindfulness - which involves awareness and attention to the current situation, and a proper balancing of cognitive and emotional states, resulting in "wise mind", which is a combination of emotional and rational thoughts.  In addition to the concept of mindfulness, DBT addresses regulating emotions, distress tolerance skills, and effective interpersonal skills. This therapy’s proactive, problem-solving approach readily engages individuals with BPD who are motivated to change.  (

b.) Schema-focused Therapy, developed by Jeffrey Young, Ph.D., a more recently developed psychotherapy, focuses on lifelong, self-defeating patterns termed early maladaptive schemas.  Young identified 18 early maladaptive schemas which are broad pervasive themes or patterns regarding oneself and one’s relationship with others, developed during childhood and elaborated throughout one’s lifetime, and dysfunctional to a significant degree.  (Giesen-Bloo et al. Archives Gen Psychiatry 2006)

c.) Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) is a 20-week cognitive-behavioral, skills training approach adapted by Nancee Blum, LSW, and colleagues.  Clients learn specific emotion and behavior management skills centered around  eight behavior skills areas. (Blum, N. et al, Comprehensive Psychiatry, 2002)