Finding specialized psychotherapy resources for Borderline Personality Disorder

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Simone Hoermann, Ph.D., is a Psychologist in private practice in New York City. She specializes in providing psychotherapy for Personality Disorders, Anxiety, and Depression ...Read More

In recent years, several specialized psychotherapeutic treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have been developed and tested in empirical research studies.

Among those, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan. DBT focuses on learning skills to regulate affect, to tolerate distress and get through crises, and to communicate effectively with others.


Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP), developed by Otto Kernberg and his team, centers around understanding and changing patterns of relating to other people, and around working on deep psychological structures that are related to symptoms of BPD.

Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT) emphasizes the importance of observing and understanding one’s own and other people’s emotions, and was developed by Peter Fonagy and Anthony Bateman.

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Despite the advances in treatment approaches and research, however, it can be a real challenge to find treatment resources, or centers and providers that are trained in any of the specialized psychotherapeutic approaches mentioned above. Generally, people living in or near big cities might be a bit more fortunate in this regard, though figuring out where to start your search can be a somewhat overwhelming task no matter where you live.

As is so often the case, the internet can provide a helpful starting point. For instance, you might look up Marsha Linehan’s website . The site offers products such as books and DVDs, information about DBT and BPD, and it also includes a Clinical Resource Directory with a searchable listing of providers and clinics that offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy throughout the U.S.

New York Presbyterian Hospital in Westchester houses the Borderline Personality Disorder Research Center ( ), led by Dr. Otto Kernberg. The mission is to help individuals and families understand the nature of BPD and find roads to recovery. The Center can be called though a toll free phone number (1-888-694-2273), and its members have collected a database of nationwide referrals.

With regards to Mentalization Based Therapy, one helpful resource for this form of psychotherapy in the U.S. is the Menninger Clinic in Houston. Their website at contains information on what the term mentalization means, why mentalization is important, and what different services the Menninger clinic offers.

The website of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorders ( ), provides a wealth of information, including videos of conference presentations and talks. Of note is the Family Connections Program, a 12-week manualized and research based program developed for family members of people with BPD. The Center offers information on nationwide providers and also started offering the program via Teleconference.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill ( ) also has a referral and information helpline at 1-800- 950-6264, and the website lists local chapters and communities as well as information on BPD. Additionally, depending on where you are located, the websites for University or Teaching Hospitals (for example, McLean for the Boston area), or the Department of Clinical Psychology at a University near you may be a helpful resource for information or a referral.

Keep Reading By Author Simone Hoermann, Ph.D.
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