Personality DisordersPersonality Disorders are a class of mental disorders that are divided into clusters and operate along a continuum (from maladaptive to traits to full disorders). There are three clusters A, B and C – each cluster having 3 or 4 disorders within them. Cluster A includes the more paranoid types (Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal); Cluster B includes the more dramatic type (Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic); Cluster C includes the more anxious type (Avoidant, Dependent, Obsessive-compulsive) and then there is the category of these that are “not specified” (depressive, Passive-aggressive, sadistic, Self-defeating and psychopathy). Each of these disorders have a set of maladaptive (unhealthy) set of behavioral patterns and belief systems that can interfere with interpersonal relationships and all general life functioning, depending on the severity of symptoms.
These patterns of behavior and thinking are developed early in life and are more often than not, reinforced by the environment in which the person lives (dysfunctional environment (familial, educational, etc.), traumatic events (as perceived by the person). They are internalized and acted out throughout the person’s life and often the person “feels” as though they are unchangeable.
Through the use of a combination of both Cognitive behavioral therapy and schema therapy I aid my clients in the development of a new perception of both themselves and the world in which they live. The main goal when working with maladaptive personality traits and personality disorders is to help the client identify their own dysfunctional patterns and thoughts, help to reframe their thinking, challenge their behaviors and introduce a new way of operating in the world while keeping their authentic self intact. In other words, it is not a true “personality change” we are working towards, it is an elimination of the patterns that keep the individual from experiencing the peace and contentment they are truly meant to.