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Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterised by enduring patterns of thoughts, behaviours, and emotions that significantly deviate from cultural expectations and cause distress or impairment in various areas of life. These patterns of behaviour and inner experience are inflexible and pervasive, often starting in adolescence or early adulthood and persisting over time.


Types of Personality Disorders

There are several types of personality disorders recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), including:

  1. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Characterised by instability in relationships, self-image, emotions, and impulsive behaviour. Individuals with BPD may experience intense fear of abandonment, have difficulties regulating emotions, engage in self-destructive behaviours, and have a distorted sense of self. Most often there is a significant background of trauma for individuals diagnosed with BPD.

  2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD): Involves an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. People with NPD often have a grandiose view of themselves, seek constant attention and validation, and can exhibit manipulative or exploitative behaviours.

  3. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD): Marked by a disregard for the rights and feelings of others. Individuals with ASPD may engage in persistent patterns of deceit, manipulation, impulsivity, and a lack of remorse for their actions. They may also exhibit a history of conduct disorder in childhood.

  4. Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD): Characterized by pervasive feelings of social inhibition, inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation. Individuals with AvPD tend to avoid social situations, fear criticism or rejection, and have low self-esteem.

  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD): Involves a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control. People with OCPD may have rigid rules and high standards, exhibit excessive devotion to work, and struggle with flexibility or openness to new ideas.


Treatment for personality disorders typically involves psychotherapy, as medication is not considered the primary treatment. At WholeMinds Pyschology the interventions are offered:

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): DBT is often effective for treating borderline personality disorder. It combines elements of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) with skills training in emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.

Schema Therapy: This approach focuses on identifying and addressing underlying maladaptive schemas (deeply ingrained patterns of thoughts and beliefs) that drive dysfunctional behaviour in personality disorders. It aims to modify these schemas and develop healthier coping strategies.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT techniques may be used to challenge and modify negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours associated with personality disorders. It can help individuals develop new coping skills and improve problem-solving abilities.

It's important to note that treatment approaches may vary depending on the specific personality disorder, severity of symptoms, and individual needs. At WholeMinds Psychology Emma can conduct a thorough assessment and develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to the individual's unique circumstances. 

Most important to any treatment is developing and maintaining a healthy therapeutic relationship - evidence informs us that better relationships lead to better outcomes. 

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