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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2014 Aug;21(6):518-25. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12116. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) in the treatment of borderline personality disorder.

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Shannon Day Hospital, HSE, Shannon.


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex disorder that is difficult to treat. However, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the early 1990s, has emerged as a promising treatment option for those diagnosed with BPD. DBT is a multi-pronged treatment approach delivered normally in outpatient settings over 12 months and requires highly skilled and trained therapists. Many trials have provided evidence to support the use of DBT in the treatment of BPD. However, outcome measures vary and are mostly limited to measurable behavioural outcomes such as incidences of deliberate self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Two recent Cochrane reviews conclude that DBT does benefit those with BPD, but more robust evidence is needed. DBT training for health care professionals also has the potential to shift health care professionals' attitudes from one of therapeutic pessimism to one of optimism.


borderline personality disorder; dialectical behavioural therapy; psychotherapeutic

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