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Personality disorders represent complex and enduring patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that can significantly impact an individual’s life. Recognising the symptoms and seeking appropriate therapeutic interventions are crucial steps toward managing and improving the challenges associated with personality disorders. Therapy can help individuals embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth and improved well-being. At Select Psychology, we offer talking therapies ranging from DBT and CBT to psychodynamic therapies to help you cope with the challenges of personality disorders in a safe and confidential environment.

Talking About Your Mental Health


Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterised by enduring patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that significantly deviate from societal norms. These patterns, ingrained and inflexible, can cause distress for the individual and impair their ability to function effectively in various aspects of life, including relationships, work, and personal development. Unlike mood disorders or anxiety disorders, which may involve specific episodes of distress, personality disorders manifest as enduring traits that shape an individual’s overall personality.

Types of Personality Disorders:

  • Cluster A – Odd or Eccentric Behaviours:
    • Paranoid Personality Disorder: Excessive distrust and suspicion of others.
    • Schizoid Personality Disorder: Detachment from social relationships and limited emotional expression.
    • Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Social and interpersonal deficits, along with eccentric behaviour.
  • Cluster B – Dramatic, Emotional, or Erratic Behaviours:
    • Antisocial Personality Disorder: Disregard for the rights of others, impulsivity, and lack of empathy.
    • Borderline Personality Disorder: Unstable relationships, self-image, and emotions, marked by impulsivity and fear of abandonment.
    • Histrionic Personality Disorder: Excessive attention-seeking and emotional overreaction.
    • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.
  • Cluster C – Anxious or Fearful Behaviours:
    • Avoidant Personality Disorder: Social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.
    • Dependent Personality Disorder: Excessive need to be taken care of, leading to submissive and clinging behaviour.
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control.

Symptoms of Personality Disorders:

1. Distorted Thinking Patterns:

  • Black-and-White Thinking: Seeing situations as all good or all bad, with little room for middle ground.
  • Cognitive Distortions: Irrational thoughts or beliefs that influence behaviour and emotions.

2. Emotional Dysregulation:

  • Intense Mood Swings: Unpredictable and rapid shifts in emotional states.
  • Difficulty Managing Stress: Limited coping mechanisms for handling everyday stressors.

3. Impaired Interpersonal Relationships:

  • Difficulty Trusting Others: Persistent skepticism and fear of betrayal.
  • Chaotic Relationships: Unstable and tumultuous connections with others.

4. Maladaptive Behaviours:

  • Impulsivity: Acting without considering the consequences.
  • Self-Harming Behaviours: Engaging in actions that cause physical harm, often as a way to cope with emotional pain.

5. Identity Disturbance:

  • Unstable Self-Image: Shifting and inconsistent sense of self.
  • Fear of Abandonment: A pervasive fear of being abandoned by others, leading to frantic efforts to avoid it.


Therapy is recommended when:

Symptoms of a personality disorder significantly impact your daily life

Persistent difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, whether personal or professional

Self-harm or suicidal thoughts

Substance abuse

You are unable to cope with stress

Experiencing intense emotional distress such as chronic feelings of sadness, anger, or anxiety

You are unable to adapt to life’s changes for a prolonged time


Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT)

Schema Therapy


Enhances self-awareness which in turn allows for a better understanding of the underlying issues contributing to the personality disorder

Teaches skills to manage intense emotions and reduce impulsive behaviours

Therapists work with individuals to develop specific coping strategies which help prevent relapses and improve overall well-being

Behavioural therapies help identify and modify maladaptive behaviours

Challenges and changes negative self-beliefs, fostering a more positive self-image

Promotes accountability, helping individuals recognise the impact of their behaviour on themselves and others

Helps one experience long-term stability and recovery, helping individuals navigate life’s challenges and maintain progress overtime


If you or someone you know is struggling with the difficulties that can come with personality disorders, it is best to seek therapy as soon as you are able to, but in the meantime there are things that can help while you are waiting for your first appointment:

Establish a structured routine: Structurally planning each day can provide a sense of stability and predictability. Establishing a consistent daily schedule including regular meal times, sleep patterns, and activities can help regulate emotions and reduce anxiety.

Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga can help manage stress and anxiety and improve emotional regulation. These practices can help create a greater sense of cal by increasing self-awareness.

Journaling: Keeping a journal helps one express their thoughts and emotions in a safe and private way. Writing about experiences, feelings and reflections can help gain insight into patterns of thinking and behaviour. 

Engage in Hobbies and Creative Outlets: Pursuing hobbies or creative activities can be a positive way to channel emotions and focus on something enjoyable. Engaging in activities that bring joy enhances overall well-being and helps balance stress healthily. 

Build a Support System: Seeking support from loved ones such as close friends and family can prove to be very helpful in dealing with the fluctuations a personality disorder brings. It is also helpful to reach out and be part of support groups where you can safely share your feelings and experiences with others who might be facing similar challenges. This can further help reduce feelings of isolation. 

SELECT-PSYCHOLOGY-IMAGE-02 personality disorders


We offer a wide range of therapies to help with personality disorders and give you the tools to cope and understand your emotions. We are a private mental health service with highly trained therapists and no waiting lists.

This is how therapy would work:

Step 1

Get in touch

The first step is recognising you have an issue and seeking help – BOOK A FREE TELEPHONE CONSULTATION and start the process by providing a space and time to share your needs with us.

Step 2

Telephone Consultation

You will be heard and understood through a confidential phone conversation. Often called the ‘triage’ this is where you can share more about your needs, and we can advise on therapy pathways and provide initial guidance where possible.

Step 3

Appointment Offer

We will match your needs with the best fit practitioner for your therapy pathway and offer you an appointment within two weeks.

Step 4

Initial Assessment

Before you begin a course of therapy, your therapist will need to conduct an assessment in order to agree a course of therapy with you that will best help you and address your goals. This is still part of the therapeutic process and will provide you with a better understanding of your difficulties and how you may start to approach them.

Step 5

Your Therapy

Following on from your assessment, you will move onto therapy. Appointments are 50 minutes – these can be anything from weekly to monthly, depending on your individual circumstances. The number of sessions required to feel better will depend on your needs and therapy plan, this can range between 8-16 sessions, but in general more time is needed to address more complex issues.

Step 6

Feeling Better

As you start to improve, you can agree on changes to the frequency of sessions as required. Ultimately, there will be a time when both you and your therapist agree that you no longer need to continue in active therapy


What are the common types of personality disorders?

There are several types of personality disorders that are quite common, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) and Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD). 

How are personality disorders diagnosed?

Diagnosis is typically made by mental health professionals through a comprehensive assessment, including interviews, observation, and psychological testing. Diagnostic criteria are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Can personality disorders be treated?

Yes, personality disorders can be treated. Talking therapies such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy are some of the most commonly used talking therapies for treating personality disorders. To address some specific symptoms and co-occurring conditions, medications may also be prescribed. 

Can personality disorders ever be cured?

While personality disorders are considered chronic conditions, with appropriate treatment and support, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and lead fulfilling lives. Recovery may involve ongoing therapy and lifestyle adjustments.