Psychodynamic psychotherapy and borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Insufficient evidence – there either hasn’t been any research on this treatment option or there is a small amount of evidence with unclear conclusions.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a talking therapy, where you meet individually with a psychotherapist. The sessions are unstructured, which means you can discuss whatever is on your mind. The psychotherapist listens carefully to what you say and notices if there are patterns or possible links to other events in your life which you might not recognise yourself. This process is called ‘making interpretations’.

Understanding the patterns in how you feel about things and in your relationships, and the links to past events (particularly those which have been traumatic or upsetting) can help you change how you feel.

Sessions are usually once a week for at least 30 weeks.

There are two psychodynamic therapies that are specifically for people with a diagnosis of BPD:

  • Transference-focused therapy, which aims to understand and work on how you relate to other people
  • Psychodynamic interpersonal therapy (PIT), which aims to help you integrate your personal inner world with the outside world and people around you

There is not much evidence that psychodynamic psychotherapy can help with BPD.

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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