Personality Disorders

Have you ever noticed how annoying the other guy can be or how they can go along for a while and everything seems ok and then they do something that really messes things up? What you might be seeing is something called a “personality disorder.” All of us grow up learning how to behave. From when we are very young, we develop “patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving” that hopefully help us to reach our goals. While this way of thinking and acting might work well for a time, after a while, these patterns might end up being counter-productive; rather than helping us, they might get in our way. In some situations, we may not be aware that we are doing these things and we may be constantly blaming the other guy.

We are still learning about what causes personality disorders. Many think that personality disorders arise from a bad interface between a child’s temperament and character on one hand and his or her family environment on the other. It is believed that there are some genetic (biological), psychological (how we process or think about events) and psychosocial (how we interact with the environment) parts to these disorders. Also, some may be associated with actual events, such as severe or ongoing trauma.

Three general areas of personality disorders have been outlined:
Cluster A (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal): People seem odd or eccentric to others.
Cluster B (antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic): People seem overly emotional, unstable, or self-dramatizing to others.
Cluster C (avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive): People seem tense and anxiety-ridden to others.

Therapy can help to improve our lives by making us aware of how we are acting, the effect that it is having on others and how we might behave differently to accomplish our goals. Sometimes people with the personality disorder come for help; often it is the people who live with a person with a personality disorder who come for treatment. Talking with a mental health professional can be very useful for the partners, family members, friends and co-workers and employees of a difficult person.

Therapy may include individual sessions, group therapy, or sessions that include family and even friends. The type of psychotherapy offered depends on the individual situation. At Psychological HealthCare we offer evidence-based treatments for personality disorders. This means that the work we do is based on science and on what has been shown to be effective in research studies for people with these issues.

Types of psychotherapy used to treat personality disorders may include: Cognitive behavioral therapy-awareness of thoughts and behaviors, their effect on others and ways to act differently
Dialectical behavior therapy-a particular treatment composed of mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation
Psychodynamic psychotherapy-a method of treatment that focuses on things of which we may not be (consciously) aware and how they affect our behavior
Psychoeducational knowledge and materials about what is going on and why, treatments available and their effectiveness