These disorders are often said to be difficult to treat because change is subtle and slow. However, from the perspective of psychotherapy, I would argue that long term individual therapy will address a persons distress, not only focusing on what CAN be changed but remembering to assess what CANNOT be changed. For example, what cannot be changed are temperament, heritable (genetic) and congenital (since birth), life’s events, personal history, trauma (physical, emotional and psychological) and chronic illness, to name a few.
Often a person is seen to steer away from their normal cultural behaviour and often cause significant distress to themselves and others they relate with. These traits and symptoms generally manifest at a significant level in adolescence where a person experiences difficulties with relationships, exhibits unusual or extreme emotions and behaviour that is harmful to themselves and others. A person cold also be seen to exhibit behaviour described as being odd eccentric, dramatic, emotional and erratic, anxious, fearful and constricted (lacking in spontaneity).
There is a range of diagnoses (types and categories) for someone to have a Personality Disorder. Diagnosis is is only a guide though, as a person does not neatly fit all the categories or descriptors given.
Diagnoses fall under three main headings called ‘clusters’. These are referred to as Cluster A, B or C.
Cluster A: the schizophrenias and paranoid disorders
Cluster B: borderline, narcissistic, antisocial and histrionic (excessive attention seeking behaviour) disorders.
Cluster C: obsessive compulsive, avoidant and dependent disorders.
Whilst behaviour that constitutes these descriptions is explored in the context of the impact it has on you and others, it is vital to understand that you are a product of experiences and precipitating factors from your past that leads you to experiencing life in your unique but distressing way.
Psychotherapy will examine the developmental contributions to your experience of personal distress. We will work together to explore the ‘what’ that has shaped you, ‘how’ it has shaped you, how you currently experience life and ‘what’ this means for you in your physical, social, personal and spiritual world views.
Psychotherapy is generally long term as awareness and change becomes possible from needs to be explored in the context of deeply entrenched personal beliefs and worldviews.