Personality Disorders

Each month, we look at a disorder or group of disorders to give viewers some sense of what some of the problems are like and how we might go about helping people overcome them. In July we look at personality disorders and some of the approaches therapists might.

We highlight shyness, or social anxiety, not only because it responds well to exposure, but also because those suffering from it might be more likely to want to change and seek treatment themselves.

Take a look at some treatment options that might be used singly or in combination:

Exposure Therapy

In Exposure Therapy, clients are asked to confront the situations they fear, starting with the least frightening situations, mastering them, moving to more difficult situations, mastering them, and so on until the most difficult situations no longer interfere with the client’s life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

In CBT, clients are taught to examine their ways of thinking about feared situations. They do this by looking at whether their behavior is truly inadequate; looking at whether other people are really likely to evaluate them negatively, and, if they do, how important that is; and looking at their belief that feared negative consequences are likely to occur. Armed with new ways of thinking, they may act out these situations with their therapist or therapy assistants, or other group members. Thereafter, clients are encouraged to confront their real-life feared situations (just as in Exposure Therapy), using their new coping skills and relying on the successful experiences they have had in sessions.

Social Skills Training

Social Skills Training teaches new ways to act (like using eye contact and asking appropriate questions) in many different situations through practice and rehearsal.

Applied Relaxation Training

Applied Relaxation Training helps clients to learn to relax while in the situations they fear.

Please also see our Fact Sheets:

    Borderline Personality Disorder

    Dialectical Behavior Therapy

    Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy


For a list of treatment providers who work with PERSONALITY ISSUES, check out ABCT's Find-A-Therapist page here



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Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
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