Therapies Explained

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
The definition of dialectic is to weigh and integrate opposing viewpoints with a goal to resolve apparent contradictions.  DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy whose goal is to balance change with acceptance.  It includes four sets of behavioral skills that are mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation.  The most standard form of DBT includes a skills training group, individual therapy, phone coaching and therapist consultation team.

Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT)
Peter Fonagy, one of the founders of mentalization, describes it as “the ability to understand others in terms of their thoughts, feelings, wishes and desires.” In other words, it is the ability to reflect on a situation and entertain other viewpoints.  The core of MBT is to teach someone how to mentalize.  MBT consists of twice per week sessions alternating between individual and group therapy.

Transferance Focused Therapy (TFP) 
TFP is based on the belief that images of oneself and of influential people over the course of growing up create the psychological structure and that these images are distorted in BPD.  This psychological structure is usually in the subconscious and becomes the lens through which the person interprets life experiences.  In TFP the individual with BPD experiences and lives out the internal images that make up his psychological structure in his relationship with the therapist which in turn familiarizes the individual with the images in his own mind and resolves the conflict.

General Psychiatric Management (GPM)
GPM is a once-weekly therapy that includes prescribing medications and family interventions.  Developed by John Gunderson, MD, the therapy tries to create a “containing environment” in which individuals with BPD can learn to trust and feel.  This therapy requires clinical experience, but is the least theory-bound and easiest to learn of the empirically validated therapists for clinicians without extensive training.