Personality Disorders

Personality disorders entail behavior patterns that may have once been functional in another point in life, but only serve to harm the individual and alienate others in the present. Personality disorders often include behaviors that both control others and drive them away.  They prohibit the establishment of healthy relationships and greatly narrow an individual’s perspective of the world and their place in it.

Types of Personality Disorders

Personality DisordersAvoidant personality disorder is a condition in which a person has a lifelong pattern of feeling very shy, inadequate, and sensitive to rejection.  The result is a conscious effort to avoid consistent social interactions.

Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which people have persistent patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as extreme feelings about themselves and others.   These inner experiences can routinely cause them to take impulsive actions and maintain chaotic relationships.

Dependent personality disorder is a long-term, chronic condition in which people depend excessively on other people to meet their emotional and physical needs. Very often relationships for such people become central, resulting in a loss of sense-of-self without them.

Histrionic personality disorder is a condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a condition in which a person is preoccupied with rules, orderliness, and control.  Divergence from routines of order and control are very difficult to tolerate and often cause anxiety and panic.

Paranoid personality disorder is a pervasive condition in which a person has an ongoing distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder.

Schizoid personality disorder is a persistent condition in which a person has a long-term patterns of indifference to others and often has a preference toward social isolation.

Treating Personality Disorders

Successful personality disorder treatment takes time and patience.   The type and severity of the disorder will determine which therapeutic treatment is best. The most common forms of treatment include psychodynamic (reflective) psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best course of treatment for many personality disorders. CBT is an action-oriented treatment focusing on the behavioral problem.  Working together, the therapist and the client identify and select strategies to best help solve the problem.  Generally, there are 3 phases to treating the disorder: behavior modification, cognitive restructuring, and harm reduction. Clients are taught to monitor their thoughts and identify those that trigger addictive impulses and behavior while learning new coping and prevention relapse skills.


There may be no limit to courage. But, we have the right to accept our own present limits.

But, if we are willing to engage ourselves, it then follows that there might

be no limit to our experience of love.   ~ Peter C. Turco