Trauma Informed, Strengths Based Approach to Recovery from Borderline Personality
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Trauma Informed, Strengths Based Approach to Recovery from Borderline Personality
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director, AllCEUs
Objectives
– Review the characteristics of BPD
– Explore the functions of these symptoms
– Identify what may cause these symptoms to develop
– Explore what is maintaining these symptoms (benefits to the client)
– Explore the effects of these symptoms on significant others
– Identify interventions to help the person more effectively manage emotions and relationships

Lifespan Perspective
– The course of BPD from adolescence to late life is characterized by a symptomatic switch from affective dysregulation, impulsivity, and suicidality to maladaptive interpersonal functioning and enduring functional impairments, with subsequent remission and relapse. (coping skill development? Maturation of the PFC?)
– BPD symptoms tend to wax and wane and presentation depends on contextual factors. 
– BPD behaviors seem to develop to help the person survive dangerous or threatening situations when other options are not available.
– Symptoms can often be understood through a lens of trauma
Neurological Aspects
– Childhood trauma may increase risk of BPD development due to alterations in
– Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis
– Neurotrasmission
– Endogenous opioid system
– Neuroplasticity in the childhood
– Brain areas involved in stress response (MPFC, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, hippocamus)
Internal Reality
– Lack of a sense of self—If they aren’t someone’s something, then they are nothing
– Unlovable for who they are
– Constant fear of abandonment
– Emotional dyscontrol
– Inability to self-soothe
– Lack of coping skills
– Lack of emotional boundaries
– Anger is used to control others and is rewarded

Summary
– People with BPD first need to learn how to safely deal with intense feelings
– Specific Issues which may trigger intense feelings and interventions include:
– Poorly developed, or unstable self-image, often associated with excessive self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy
– Development of self-concept
– Differentiation of whats from whos
– Interpersonal hypersensitivity (i.e., prone to feel slighted or insulted)
– Self-Soothing
– CBT Interventions
– Intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships, marked by mistrust, fear of abandonment, and difficulty trusting people due to alternations between feeling appreciated and condemned
– Learn how to be honest about wants/needs/fears
– Develop the ability to trust self
– Learn what it means to trust others
– Learn how to set healthy boundaries

Video by Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes on integrative behavioral health approaches including counseling techniques and skills for improving mental health and reducing mental illness.

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