Therapy for Personality Disorders 

Get support in managing a personality disorder 

Get matched with a therapist for a personality disorder

Your personality is a unique and defining part of who you are. It encompasses your character traits, perspective, attitude, temperament, thought patterns, and values. A personality disorder is when a person’s unique traits cause significant issues and impairment. By working with a therapist who understands your disorder and how it’s disrupting your life, you can learn to better manage your symptoms and develop skills to better relate to others. 

Why do people develop personality disorders? 

Personality disorders can drastically impact your life. They can impact how you perceive the world around you, make it difficult to keep a job, lead to delinquent behavior, or cause serious impairment in your relationships. You may struggle with your emotions, self-harm or display suicidal behaviors, act violent or unempathetic, lack self-confidence, or be very perfectionistic.   

There are many factors that could potentially lead to someone developing a personality disorder, including genetics, physical changes to the brain, cultural factors, a history of abuse, and certain experiences in childhood and young adulthood. People often show signs of a personality disorder in early adulthood, although they may not be diagnosed until later in life. Types of personality disorders include: 

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: High sense of importance and entitlement; sensitive to criticism; deep need for success and admiration 
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder: Attention-seeking, flirtatious, and dramatic behaviors; easily influenced by others; obsessed with physical appearance 
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Strong mood swings and intense emotions; impulsivity and paranoia; unstable relationships 
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: Impulsive and high risk-taking behaviors; aggressive and violent tendencies; difficulties with empathy 
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Eccentric or unusual thinking; paranoid or suspicious tendencies; overly superstitious; aloof or emotionally awkward; disconnected from reality 
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder: Limited range of emotional expression; prefers to be alone; little desire for sexual relationships; seems to lack motivations, pleasure, and goals
  • Paranoid Personality Disorder: Difficulty trusting and confiding in others; difficulty relaxing;  often see everyday situations as signs of danger
  • Dependent Personality Disorder: Requiring others to make decisions or take responsibility for areas of your life; difficulty saying no and being alone; low self-confidence 
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder: Avoiding social activities; fear of ridicule or rejection; feeling lonely and inferior; highly sensitive to criticism 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Need for control; desiring everything to be perfect; fearing mistakes; requiring order 

The goals of therapy for personality disorders

Many personality disorders share symptoms with other mental health disorders, and it’s possible for you to simultaneously have a personality disorder and a mood disorder (e.g., you may have a histrionic personality disorder and also have depression). A therapist can help determine if a personality disorder is primarily to blame for dysfunction in your life and can provide long-term treatment to help you live a more functional, enjoyable life. Your Ellie therapist will help by: 

  • Helping you to look inward and identify what patterns in your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are causing impairment in your life. 
  • Teaching you vital social skills to help you better understand yourself and others and interact with others in a healthy manner. 
  • Managing symptoms that are causing immediate distress or harm to yourself or others, such as depression or violent behavior. 
  • Attending therapy sessions with other family members, your partner, or other members of your support group to facilitate healthy interactions. 
  • Learning to manage difficult emotions and cope in healthy ways, which may mean eliminating drugs or alcohol.  

Let’s work through your personality disorder together  

Your first reaction to being diagnosed with a personality disorder might be anger or doubt. You might feel you are being told there is something wrong with who you are or that you can’t possibly change your personality. It’s important to remember that your therapist’s goal is never to belittle or demean you. Our goal at Ellie is to help you thrive in every area of your life! Together, we can help you better understand why you’re struggling and work to eliminate the behaviors that are keeping you from living the best, healthiest life possible.  

Ellie Mental Health therapy client making a funny face

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