Personality Disorder (for Professionals)

What is a personality disorder?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) gives the following definition:

Personality disorder is characterized by problems in functioning of aspects of the self (e.g., identity, self-worth, accuracy of self-view, self-direction), and/or interpersonal dysfunction (e.g., ability to develop and maintain close and mutually satisfying relationships, ability to understand others’ perspectives and to manage conflict in relationships) that have persisted over an extended period of time (e.g., 2 years or more). The disturbance is manifest in patterns of cognition, emotional experience, emotional expression, and behaviour that are maladaptive (e.g., inflexible or poorly regulated) and is manifest across a range of personal and social situations (i.e., is not limited to specific relationships or social roles). The patterns of behaviour characterizing the disturbance are not developmentally appropriate and cannot be explained primarily by social or cultural factors, including socio-political conflict. The disturbance is associated with substantial distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

There are increasing indications, reflected in the latest psychiatric diagnostic manuals, that there is a continuum of personality related difficulties across the population.

NICE Personality Disorder guidelines

NICE have published guidelines for the care and treatment of individuals with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Anti-social Personality Disorder.

What does the Personality Disorder Service do?

There are two main teams that make up the service:

Therapies Team (TT)

A MDT offering three time-limited therapies: Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) for Personality Disorder, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT). Please see the Interventions Offered tab for more detailed information on these therapies. 

Community Team (CT)

A MDT offering people individual therapeutic work within a framework based on the Structured Clinical Management (SCM) model. The CT offers people the opportunity to build a psychological understanding of their mental health difficulties; work towards personalised goals in a therapeutic manner; undertake crisis planning and work towards meeting social care needs. The CT also liaises with other health and social care services, including accommodation providers, and provides psychiatric medication where appropriate.

In essence, all of our clinicians aim to support people to build up a picture of a life they want to live, a plan of how they can move towards this, and an awareness of the barriers that may get in the way. If necessary, this may include arrangements for obtaining further support as the work with us comes to an end.

How to refer to the Personality Disorder Service?

We accept referrals from Primary and Secondary Care Mental Health Services, GPs, Crisis Teams, as well as CAMHS, probation and other specialist services.

Please complete the downloadable referral form and email to:

Professionals are welcome to contact the service prior to making a referral if they have any questions, or if a discussion would be helpful.

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