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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
– 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

– 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.

AllCEUs provides multimedia counselor education and CEUs for LPCs, LMHCs, LMFTs and LCSWs as well as addiction counselor precertification training and continuing education.
Live, Interactive Webinars ($5)
Unlimited Counseling CEs for $59
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AllCEUs courses for counselor continuing education are accepted in most states because we are an approved education provider for NAADAC, the States of Florida and Texas Boards of Social Work and Mental Health/Professional Counseling, the California Consortium for Addiction Professionals and Professions, the Australian Counselling Association, CRCC, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and more.

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