Tips for Working with Borderline Personality Disorder

HOW can clinicians best support and work with people with BPD?

  • Work from hope, empathy and put our goals first
  • See us as a person and not just as another person with BPD on your caseload
  • To see our strengths, uniqueness and our fight to live and ask for help
  • Understand we don’t trust very easily so take the time to get to know us
  • SHARE- share a part of yourself.
  • Set very clear boundaries. e.g. when we can talk to you, topics, when we can call you, where to go for help, what the ground rules are, what our roles are
  • Take time to understand the narrative
  • DO NOT judge us if we take a backward turn. It is all part of the journey.
  • SHARE stories of how you have utilised particular skills in your life
  • Model appropriate social interactions in your own life – be authentic
  • Incorporate spirituality into mental health care. Ask the person do they have a particular source of faith.
  • Be authentic – do not say you will do something and then you don’t
  • Understand when and when not is not a good time to talk with us. e.g. particular times of the days are very triggering for us.
  • Therapy is excruciatingly tiring
  • Do not talk too much! We easily get overwhelmed. If you want us to remember something give us that information in a written form as well.
  • Use Humour! Especially when we are building our partnership together.


Published by Beyond Personality Disorders

Founder of My Potential Mental health Advocate; Occupational Therapy Teacher and Researcher Australia “As an occupational therapist diagnosed with BPD I will use this page to share about the various interventions and strategies that are helpful to those with BPD. I will also share about the positive and sometimes challenging approaches that health professionals have used in my treatment in emergency, inpatient, outpatient and community settings. I hope that by sharing my lived experience I can help improve the experience of those struggling to understand Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD) and also support those living with BPD and other mental health challenges Most importantly we will share how occupation can powerfully help change lives!" Laura

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