Finding Meaning and Purpose with BPD

Can a painful life also be one that's potentially meaningful?

The diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is often characterized by a lot of loneliness and emptiness.

Many people wonder what to do with their lives or are curious about what a life worth living even means for them. Finding purpose and meaning, however, can make a significant difference in the amount of hopefulness and satisfaction we experience in everyday life.

Beginning October 1, I'll be teaching an interactive online course that is designed to help you to find or create meaning in your own life. Throughout the month, you'll be asked to complete 12 different activities that I hope will inspire you. What happens next is up to you!

This course is open to persons diagnosed or in recovery from BPD, family members, and mental health professionals. If you are interested in creating a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life then this course is great place to start.

The books we'll be using for this course are:

Man's Search for Meaning
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

I'll also be using information and ideas from:

The Feeling of Meaninglessness: A Challenge to Psychotherapy and Philosophy
Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It
Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

Please note that you do not need to purchase these books in order to participate in the course.

Questions? I'm happy to answer to them. Please feel free to email me at

The cost is just $39. Click here to register today.


Free BPD Self-Care Assessment Tool

Image by Kim TairiSeveral months ago I developed a self-care assessement tool for persons diagnosed with BPD.

It covers four domains of self-care: physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual.

At first, I made it available to only those subscribed to my mailing list but it is now available to you. If you'd like a copy, please email me at I'm happy to send it to you.

Here's to healthy and happy living today and tomorrow!


Just for Moms

Image by Lisa WiderbergIf you are a mother of someone who's been diagnosed with BPD or emotion regulation disorder, you know that it can be devastating to watch someone you love suffer from intense emotions, impulsivity, and often self-destructive behaviors.

Even the most resourceful and positive moms can be left feeling over-whelmed and discouraged during the long road to recovery.

On Tuesday, July 22 at 8:00 pm EDT (5:00 pm PDT), we'll talk about different ways that you can get the help you need to take care of yourselves and those you love. You'll also have an opportunity to share a little bit of what has helped you so that you can support women in similar situations.

Please note that this conference call is only open to mothers of individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or traits of BPD. Out of respect for the privacy of our participants and their families, this call will not be recorded.

The cost to participate is $25 but you can register between now and July 9, 2012 for just $15. Please click here to register today or e-mail Amanda for more information.


The Dialectics of Recovery

Image by Martinak15Within dialectical behavior therapy we strive for the synthesis of opposing views and ideas.

That synthesis is most commonly referred to as Wise Mind.

Wise Mind is a place where we are acting neither out of Emotion Mind nor Reasonable Mind. We honor both but cling to neither. It's here where we begin to let go of some of our black and white thinking and find room for a middle path. You already know that this is a much healthier place to live.

For me, there have been two opposing views of recovery over the past decade:

• Work hard to get better fast.

• Be patient.

Finding the dialectic between the two has been challenging.

Work hard to get better fast

People who keep a diary card every day, make every therapy appointment, consistently reach out and ask for help, and put their recovery first will see some pretty significant (and lasting) results anywhere between six and twelve months. Having a mental illness can be emotionally and fiscally devastating and from a relational and financial perspective, making an investment in DBT can yield great returns.

This same idea is true for any goal we set in life. The harder we work, the more results we'll see. The greater the effort, the richer our reward. Hard work really does pay off.

Be patient 

The other side of working really hard to get better in the fastest time frame possible is to be patient.

Being patient means taking the time (even if it takes years) to figure out what works, what doesn't, and how we can from our mistakes. We learn from failure in a way that we do not learn from our successes.

Patience also teaches us an important lesson in watching life unfold in just the way it was meant to transpire.

Sometimes I wish that I had access to DBT in my teens or early 20s but now I can (usually but not always) see that things happen the way they do for a reason.

Even though we'd like for things to be different, recovery simply doesn't happen in a nice linear and predictable way. It's usually full of encouraging starts, disappointing stops, and progress that can sometimes be challenging to spot even on the best of days.

People with a diagnosis of BPD are often under a great deal of pressure to change quickly. For example, spouses may threaten divorce or well-meaning parents may insist that their child return to college shortly after a suicide attempt. For some people, these may be effective motivators for change but for others it will only be an impediment that will stall recovery.

The secret is in honoring the dialectic between pushing for hard work and being exceptionally patient with yourself or someone you love. The bigger secret is to know when to do it.



Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children and Adolescents

Walking the Middle Path: DBT for Children and Adolescents  


Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center

Austin Auditorium
100 Hillcrest Medical Blvd
Waco, TX 76712


April 4, 2014
8:00 am–4:30 pm


Waco Partnership for Psychological and Spiritual Care

Hope for BPD

Timberline Knolls


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment designed to help individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. DBT has also been adapted to help other patient populations that include but are not limited to self-harming behaviors, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance use, and family caregivers. This one-day training will provide an overview of using DBT with children and adolescents who are at-risk or have been diagnosed with an emotion regulation disorder.

We are honored to have Nancy Gordon, LCSW join us as our trainer for the day. Nancy has 30 years of experience working with clients of all ages in all levels of care. As Clinical Director in Vermont and Florida she implemented DBT in each setting, and has presented nationally and locally on many clinical topics.

Nancy was intensively trained in 1998 with over 100 hours of training since then. She was one of the first in the country to implement DBT into an adolescent residential setting which drew national recognition.

Nancy founded Tampa Bay Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy with the mission of increasing the availability of adherent DBT and evidence-based treatment to Florida.

The training is open to mental health professionals, individuals diagnosed with BPD, their families, clergy, and students.

Licensed mental health professionals may apply to receive 7 continuing education credit hours.


$99 for mental health professionals; $59 for individuals diagnosed with BPD, family members, students, and clergy.

The conference fee includes lunch and educational materials.

Registration fees, minus a $25 service charge, will be refunded to participants who send a notice via e-mail no less than 7 days before the training. No refunds will be made thereafter. A colleague may be substituted for no extra charge if Waco Partnership for Psychological and Spiritual Care is notified by March 30, 2014.

Learning Objectives

Following this training, participants will be able to

• Understand the developmental needs in children and adolescents experiencing emotion dysregulation

• Explain how DBT has be adapted to the needs of children and adolescents

• Define the role of emotion regulation skills in DBT

• Use validation techniques in DBT

• Describe the case management principles in DBT

• Explain the role of consultation team in DBT


Please click here to register today or contact Amanda Smith for more information.