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Gaining A Better Understanding of Emotionally Unstable  Personality Traits 

It might be worth saying that many people develop some traits of a specific personality type, without it becoming an established personality disorder. Many of us struggle with aspects of our personality in some areas of life, whilst managing well in others. It is also important to bear in mind that BPD does not affect the entire personality. You can have many positive personality traits and talents in addition to those that are problematic. There is a spectrum of emotional instability, which spans from mild to moderate to severe symptoms. This is not fixed and can change with time and circumstances. As a clinical psychologist in private practice, I specialise in helping people on the mild end of the spectrum. This means that I psychologically work with clients who struggle with specific emotionally unstable personality traits, rather than a fully established borderline personality disorder. Often clients on the moderate to severe end of the spectrum of Borderline Personality Disorder require the input of a Mental Health Team or Psychological Services within the NHS. These teams are able to access resources for crisis assessment & management, which often can be an essential part in supporting clients who struggle with moderate to severe Borderline Personality Disorder. With that said, I would like to help you understand a bit more about what Borderline Personality Disorder actually means.

First of all, what do we mean by Personality?

The word ‘personality’ refers to the collection of characteristics that we develop growing up, which make each of us an individual. These include the ways we think, feel, regulate emotions and relate to others. By our late teens, early 20s, most of us have developed our unique personality with our own ways of thinking, feeling responses, relational styles and ways we regulate  emotions. Usually, our personality allows us to get on reasonably well with other people and adapt to new circumstances. People with personality disorder tend to struggle with relationships and find it hard to change the bits of their personality that cause the difficulties. We call these aspects maladaptive personality traits. These traits typically affect self-image, self-esteem, emotional regulation and also influence the ways of thinking about others, which often cause problems at school, work and at home.

What is BPD/ EUPD?

There are many ways to identify and describe this condition…
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD)
  • Emotional Dysregulation Disorder
  • Complex Developmental Trauma
  • Attachment Trauma
  • Attachment Disorder

What are Typical Signs & Symptoms? 

I have outlined some of the main symptoms and traits, which can vary from person to person.
  • Frequent mood changes & feeling easily triggered
  • Instability of self-image & personal goals
  • Varying degrees of impulsivity, which can be accompanied by self-harming behaviours & suicidal thoughts
  • Finding it hard to manage difficult feelings such as rejection, abandonment, anger, emotional pain, anxiety – this can result in unstable relationships
  • Feelings of emptiness inside
  • Feeling mistrustful in friendships & relationships, which can lead to conflict and instability
  • Difficulty with boundaries
If you resonate with some of these emotionally unstable traits and would like to understand more about this, I suggest you contact me today to arrange a FREE, 20 minute telephone consultation, where we can talk through your concerns and consider potential next steps.

An Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

Difficulties with Emotional Regulation is tough. Especially without psychological support, life often feels overwhelming and alone. It is devastating to find yourself in tumultuous relationships, not knowing how to handle the ups and downs. Living life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster without knowing how to manage your feelings when you are angry, lonely or upset.Emotional rollercoaster For these reasons alone, seeking help and support from a qualified therapist is highly recommended. Professional help can support you with your struggles and vulnerabilities, such as managing intense feelings of rejection, abandonment, all the way through to anger, sadness and heartbreak. And there is no doubt about it, this inner turmoil is exhausting and debilitating. You may feel that getting better is something that is not going to happen for you. However, help and support is available. My professional training as psychologist & coach and over 25 years’ experience – combined with your commitment and motivation to achieve positive changes in your life – will support you along the path of improved emotional stability and resilience. The psychological journey will involve me working alongside you, helping and guiding you in making sense of your confusing and often painful world of thoughts and feelings. My support and your willingness and readiness to fully engage in the psychological therapy process, will bring you closer to living a more balanced and fulfilling life. Here is the psychological approach I draw on when helping my clients who struggle with Emotional Regulation:

Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)

Initially, Mentalization-Based Therapy (also known as MBT or sometimes referred to as Mentalization-Based Treatment) was developed specifically for patients with prominent features of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. …A fragile mentalizing capacity is a core feature of emotionally unstable personality traits, therefore, Mentalization-Based Treatment is considered one of the most effective psychological treatment approaches available… MBT therapy is a type of long-term psychotherapy which aims to develop and strengthen your capacity to mentalize. In a nutshell, mentalizing means being aware and mindful of our own thoughts and feelings as well as being mindful of what others might be thinking and feeling. Our mentalizing capacity is particularly important in developing and sustaining mutually supportive relationships.

How do I if know you are the right therapist for me?

I am a fully qualified MBT Practitioner & Clinical Psychologist with a lot of training and experience in working in this field. Over the last twenty years, I have worked with many individuals who struggled with varying degrees of emotional instability. I have had the privilege to witness many of my clients to gradually get better. And this is also possible for you.
  • In my therapy practice, it is one of my priorities to create a space in which a trusting therapeutic relationship can develop. This will support you in better understanding and managing what is going on in your heart and mind & also help you develop new ways and skills to improve emotional regulation.
  • As a next step, I suggest that we meet for an initial online consultation to get a feel for whether we can connect and work together.
  • On my side, this will involve assessing whether I am able to offer you effective therapeutic input, and whether my approach is going to be useful for you. On your side, it involves getting a sense of whether you feel comfortable with me and my approach.

What should I expect during sessions?

During MBT therapy sessions we will be exploring together experiences and difficulties in your current life situation with the aim to Meey Kirsten Heynisch Psychotherapistimprove your understanding of yourself and others. We will focus on what is going on in your mind and feeling world, and also reflect together what might be going on in other people’s minds, particularly in situations which may cause strong emotional responses, conflict and problematic behaviours. In this way, Mentalization-Based Therapy can help you to better understand and manage your emotions and behaviours, which in turn can improve your relationships with people that are important to you. In MBT therapy, like in all psychological therapies, your committment, readiness and motivation for change are vital factors associated with positive outcome. Some of the ingredients that I will bring to our work are curiosity, empathy and a capacity to listen well and deeply. I will also introduce you to new psychological ideas and perspectives, which are aimed at enhancing your self-awareness and understanding.

What if therapy makes me feel worse?

Psychological Therapy can feel unsettling and destabilising at times. Talking about difficult life experiences naturally can trigger turbulent feelings and memories. MBT, which is considered to be a very effective treatment approach, offers an opportunity to explore, contain and integrate these emotional states. With gentle guidance, I will support you in developing inner resources aimed at helping you manage and contain difficult thoughts and feelings. Over time, this can gradually bolster your capacity to withstand stress and strengthen your resilience in day to day life . If you are struggling with emotional instability and emotional regulation difficulties, please contact me to arrange an initial consultation, where we can talk and think together about the most suitable way forward for you. I am looking forward to hearing from you.