September 20, 2020

Dear Mental Health Professionals: Please Stop Perpetuating Stigma.

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Please stop calling people “Borderlines,” or saying someone “screams personality disorder.”

If you are about to argue that you don’t, please stop, because many in your field do. You may not, but what are you doing to stop those who represent your field from doing so?

Your profession continues to perpetuate the stigma of this misunderstood disorder that belongs in the category of trauma. It really needs to stop.

We do not need to abandon a client for them to learn how to deal with their abandonment that was caused by childhood trauma, and we do not need to ignore their pain because they cry often.

I’m truly tired of this diagnosis and encourage the future to reconsider its name. I think many would agree it should be called Developmental Trauma.

Thomas Kuhn argues that we should work with future leaders in a field rather than old ones if we want to change a paradigm, and I agree. It seems that arguing with therapists about what BPD is doesn’t seem to help.

We need to look to the up and coming generation and help them understand attachment theory and how to hold a supportive therapeutic space for those who struggle with abandonment, loneliness, and all the other criteria for this so-called “personality” disorder.

If you too have been given this diagnosis and are struggling, consider reading the works of these individuals:

Janina Fisher

Peter Lavine

Gabor Maté

Caspi & Roberts

Richard Schwartz

Bethany Webster

Bessel Van Der Kolk

Tara Brach

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

There is a lot to be done in the area of trauma.

For starters, we should look toward positive psychology and steer them toward a life worth living by considering things such as courage, creativity, and joy. Rather than focus heavily on one’s pathology, let’s consider apatholology—what goes right in our lives and how positive qualities and experiences can be strengthened.

Let’s validate their pain, help them heal their mother wounds, and stop with the testimonial injustice. We are not “Borderlines.” Start using people-first language and treat this for what it is—Developmental Trauma. You’re therapists after all.


Also from this author: An Ode to Borderline Personality Disorder.



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