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  • How therapist stigma impacts treatment of borderline personality disorder

    Harm of Stigma with Borderline Personality Disorder “Manipulative,” “attention seekers,” and “drama queens” are a few damaging ways clients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are often described; these individuals are among the most stigmatized within a clinical population (Allan, 2018; Deans & Meocevic, 2006; National Alliance on Mental Health, 2017). BPD is a disorder centered around pervasive patterns of instability in the context of emotion regulation, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and impulse control (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Stigma towards psychological disorders creates added difficulty for those who have a diagnosed condition, attributing to greater apprehension about seeking treatment and exacerbating feelings of hopelessness. Stigma specifically related to BPD often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy on behalf of the clinician. Preconceived negative views towards clients become reinforced at the emergence of challenging symptoms (i.e., maladaptive attempts to self-soothe, intense vacillations of mood), creating hostility towards the individual as opposed to conceptualizing such as symptoms not yet successfully treated (Aviram et al., 2006). Although clients with BPD hold a significant prevalence within the clinical population (~20% of inpatient population, ~11% of outpatient; Chapman, 2023), they are often the subject of negative attitudes and/or judgements from mental health professionals, resulting in—often due to clinician’s own fear or anxiety—a reluctancy to treat. Antagonistic feelings towards those with BPD are often the result of common suicidal tendencies, including perceived around the clock availability from the therapist, as well as strong, negative countertransference feelings, such as anger, embarrassment, and helplessness (Bodner et al., 2011). However, both fears of overwhelming burden from and hostility towards those with BPD are often an indication of treatment failure or clinici...

    Published On: Feb-25-2024
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