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Review of the Skills Training Manual for Borderline Personality Disorder

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Updated March 22, 2012

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The Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder is a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) workbook by Dr. Marsha Linehan, the developer of DBT. Published by Guilford Press, the manual provides a number of coping skills that may be very helpful for someone with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even though he manual was originally designed for people struggling with the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD). This manual was not really designed for the novice reader. Therefore, if you decide to get this book, you might want to review it with a mental health professional. However, even if you don't have a therapist, many of the exercises are easy to follow and could be of benefit to you.

There are a number of effective treatments for PTSD available; however, some people may not be ready to seek out treatment or may not be experiencing PTSD symptoms at such a level that they feel treatment is necessary. In these cases, a person might want to first try out a book such as this one to learn some new coping skills for managing their symptoms.

A manual like this one may also be of use to someone in PTSD treatment. The skills provided in this manual can definitely complement information offered in most PTSD treatment programs. Finally, if you are looking for additional help with managing your emotions and relationships, then this manual is a must for you.

A Manual Based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder is generally provided in combination with dialectical behavior therapy. DBT is considered a cognitive-behavioral treatment, in that it addresses maladaptive thoughts, beliefs and behaviors in order to reduce the symptoms of BPD.

DBT emphasizes the acceptance of emotions and thoughts in reducing BPD symptoms. In fact, DBT was one of the first cognitive-behavioral treatments to incorporate mindfulness skills as way of facilitating this acceptance.

DBT is based on the idea that the main problem among people with BPD is difficulty managing emotions, or emotion dysregulation. Many of the problem behaviors observed among people with BPD (for example, deliberate self-harm) are thought to arise from this emotion dysregulation.

Just like people with BPD, people with PTSD also experience difficulties managing their emotions. They may also have problems with relationships or engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as deliberate self-harm. Consequently, the skills presented in DBT (and this manual in particular) may also be of great benefit to people with PTSD.

A Wealth of Useful Skills for Managing Many Areas of Your Life

The manual was designed for mental-health professionals who practice DBT. Although this information might be interesting and useful for someone with PTSD, it might not all be applicable to your symptoms. In addition, some of the terms and language may be difficult for the non-professional to understand. Therefore, if you are currently working with a therapist, you may want to have him or her take you through the different skills in the manual.

That said, the book does offer a number of exercises that target difficulties in relationships, managing emotions, tolerating distress and being mindful. As stated previously, even though the manual was originally designed for people with BPD, these skills can also be of great benefit to someone with PTSD. In fact, there is some research showing that DBT is useful in reducing PTSD symptoms.

All in all, this manual may be an excellent resource for someone attempting to learn some new ways of managing their emotions and improving relationships.

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  5. Self-Help Books for PTSD
  6. Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook - Review of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook

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