Camden and Islington Personality Disorder Service

There are two multidisciplinary teams offering interventions to service-users at the Personality Disorder Service - the Community Team (CT) and the Therapies Team (TT).

The Community Team offers individual therapeutic work within a framework based on the Structured Clinical Management (SCM) model. The CT offers service-users 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.

The Therapies Team offers three time-limited, change-oriented, structured therapies: Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT), Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) for Personality Disorder and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). These are evidence-based therapeutic approaches for the treatment of difficulties associated with the diagnosis of personality disorder. 

  • MBT focuses on improving the capacity to understand one’s mind and the minds of others in the service of improving relationships
  • DIT for Personality Disorder focuses on identifying and understanding unhelpful patterns in relating (with oneself and others)
  • DBT focuses on teaching skills and changing behaviour so that an individual is better able to manage their emotions and relationships

In essence, both teams aim to support service-users to build 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.

What is a Personality Disorder?

As a result of destabilising/difficult/traumatic early life experiences and an emotionally sensitive temperament a person can develop very intense, inflexible and unhelpful patterns of relating to other people and themselves. These patterns develop in childhood and persist over time causing someone to become overwhelmed with unbearable feelings and to often engage in impulsive or self-destructive behaviours as a way of coping. As a result they will experience severe difficulties managing the demands of daily living and will have frequent emotional crises.   

The personality 'disorder' only refers to the set of intense and unhelpful personality traits that create significant problems for the person. That person will still have many other personality traits that make them a unique and interesting individual and which create no problems for them in their daily lives.


Service-users who have significant difficulties in their daily functioning, regulation of their emotions and maintenance of interpersonal relationships.

Service-users must have an established diagnosis of a personality disorder or meet the diagnostic criteria for a personality disorder.

After you are referred to our service and if we believe that your referral is appropriate, you will be offered an assessment appointment with one or more clinicians. Assessments are an opportunity for the service to start to understand your strengths, difficulties and needs, and to provide you with a preliminary, holistic, psychological narrative around these. We refer to this as a “formulation”. You may be invited back for a second appointment when there has not been an opportunity to cover key areas in the first appointment. Following your assessment appointment(s), the clinician(s) who met with you will go back to their team to discuss your case. The teams are multi-disciplinary (made up of clinicians from a variety of core professions). The team will develop a plan, which may or may not include further input/treatment from our service.

Sometimes, people view an assessment as simply a process that has to be gone through in order to receive “real” treatment. We try to dissuade people from this notion. In fact, our assessment process can be an important means of gaining self-understanding, a first step in treatment, or even, in some cases, entirely sufficient in meeting the needs which led to a referral.

  • Service-user needs are at the heart of practice.
  • A range of effective and evidence based interventions for people whose difficulties can be characterised as personality disorder.

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