Sharing the Journey with Kiera Van Gelder

September 21, 2010

FBPDA is pleased to announce a healing and writing retreat—Sharing the Journey—with Kiera Van Gelder, MFA, international BPD advocate, educator, and author of the highly-lauded memoir The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating.

This special event will take place on Saturday, September 25th at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Classroom D.

The half-day workshop is geared toward individuals in recovery from borderline personality disorder and those who support them.

This event is a unique opportunity to examine and share with others the challenges and joys involved in recovery from BPD. In an atmosphere that is warm and inviting, Kiera will discuss her new book and the struggles involved with writing it particular to BPDand the “coming out” process. Through guided writing exercises, group discussion, and mindfulness meditation, we will explore how telling our personal stories can be both exposing and liberating, and we will strategize and practice ways of sharing our journey that heal and empower ourselves.

Sharing the Journey is appropriate for individuals diagnosed with BPD as well as friends and family members who are supporting their loved ones and seeking healing for themselves. Space for this event is limited to only 15 people so it is important that you sign-up today.

The cost for the event is $100 and includes a continental breakfast and workshop materials. Each attendee will also receive a signed copy of Ms. Van Gelder’s book.

For more information and to register, please contact Amanda at amanda.smith@fbpda.org today.


Girl in Need of a Tourniquet

June 4, 2010

FBPDA is honored to host a conference call with Merri Lisa Johnson, PhD on Thursday, June 17 at 7:00 pm EST.

Dr. Johnson’s book Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality has just been released by Seal Press.

The author earned her doctorate at SUNY Binghamton and directs the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg. She also explores issues surrounding mental illness, pop culture, art, and literature through her blog borderlinePhD.

If you would like to participate in this important call, please register by contacting amanda.smith@fbpda.org. While this call is offered at no cost, you must register by June 16.

Participants are strongly encouraged to submit questions and comments to Dr. Johnson before the call begins. Please e-mail us for additional information.


BPD Support Group

March 8, 2010

On Wednesday, March 31 at 6:00 pm, FBPDA will hold a peer-led support group designed for anyone who engages in self-injury or is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The theme for March’s group will be Creating and Sustaining Strong Support Networks.

This event will be held at the Mirror Lake Library in downtown St. Petersburg and individuals at all stages of recovery from BPD are welcome to share their experiences. While this event is free, you will need to RSVP by e-mailing amanda.smith@fbpda.org.

For more information go to our website.


Online DBT for Everyone

March 4, 2010

One of the biggest obstacles in getting help is finding accessible care. It’s not unusual for us to hear that individuals travel up to one or two hours a week for a comprehensive dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program. For many, the drive consists of an even longer commute to find a trained and compassionate mental health professional.

Could an online DBT group be right for you?

FBPDA friend and supporter, Tami Green, has created such a group for individuals diagnosed with BPD, their families, and even for mental health professionals. Tami is a woman in recovery from BPD and has a passion for helping others in getting the help they need.

While an online DBT skills group may not be for everyone, it can be a lifesaver for people wanting to learn more about this highly-effective treatment while they are working to find an clinician who can help.


BPD: Supporting Recovery Today and Tomorrow

February 26, 2010

Please join us in Clearwater on Friday, April 23 at 8:00 am for our latest conference.

While borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex and serious mental illness, it’s important for healthcare professionals to understand that BPD is also highly treatable. This one-day conference will provide an overview of evidence-based treatment and care practices that actively promote and encourage recovery. At the conclusion of the program attendees will be able to describe the longitudinal course of BPD including etiology, prognosis, and remittance of DSM-IV-TR criteria over the course of the illness; describe the role of neuroplasticity in effective treatment; outline a theoretical model of recovery; and identify the obstacles to recovery from a patient’s perspective.

Topics include:

• The Good Prognosis Diagnosis: Exploring the Myths Surrounding BPD. Stacy Louk, PhD
• Emotional Regulation Strategies for Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder. Aaron Norton, LMHC, CAP
• Neuroplasticity: Significance in Treatment and Prognosis in Psychiatric Illness with Specific Implications for BPD. Emily Lazarou, MD
• I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Realities of Recovery. Gisele Requena, MA
• In the Here and Now: Strategies for Mindfulness. Joan Dyer, LCSW and Janet Waye, LCSW
• Helping Patients with BPD Overcome Emptiness: Plugging the Hole and Filling the Cup. Mardie Chapman, MA
• The Role of Family in Treatment for BPD. Nancy Gordon, LCSW

Lunch is provided. Contact Hours: 8 hours to Nursing, LMHC, LMFT, LCSW, Psychology. As always, individuals diagnosed with BPD and their friends and families are more than welcome to attend.

Click here to register at St. Petersburg College’s web site today.


Borderline Personality Disorder and Stigma

November 13, 2009

Like many people with BPD, I am excruciatingly sensitive to other people’s perceptions of me. At times, a negative word or look can drastically redefine how I feel about myself. It even has a physical effect, like being hit with a soccer ball in the solar plexus. With this kind of vulnerability, it seems almost masochistic to publicly identify oneself with a disorder that has such negative associations. But here’s the catch: enduring human connection and mastery comes only after facing oneself and sharing that self with others. —Kiera Van Gelder


Chronic Suicidality and BPD

October 8, 2009

From Joel Paris, MD:

Chronic suicidality is a way of coping with painful emotions. The inner experience of the patient involves isolation and despair. Patients have a sense of emptiness about self as well as a feeling that life is meaningless. But there is always a way to escape, and the option of suicide offers a sense of control and empowerment. My book used a title that borrowed a phrase from John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale”: BPD patients are “half in love with death.”

Yet suicidality tends to decline as life improves. As we have seen, long-term follow-up studies of BPD show that most patients recover with time and give up this option. When they achieve a degree of
mastery in their lives, they no longer need to be masters of death.


With a few exceptions, patients with BPD should not be hospitalized, because there is no evidence that admission to a ward has any value. In fact, hospital stays can be counterproductive and harmful.

—Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide to Evidence-Based Practice (2008)


RethinkBPD’s Amanda Wang: Struggles, Breakdown & Breakthrough

October 8, 2009

Amanda Wang is a fantastic advocate for persons diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and she boldly uses her story to reach out and help others.

Ms. Wang is also the creator and producer of an ambitious film project titled RethinkBPD.

FBPDA strongly urges our readers to learn more about Amanda, her struggle with BPD, and continued healing and recovery by watching this video:

BPD Profile: Struggles, Breakdown & Breakthrough from Amanda Wang on Vimeo.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Program for Professional and Patient Success

September 15, 2009

FBPDA is proud to present our second conference titled Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Program of Professional and Patient Success on Friday, October 23, 2009 from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm at St. Petersburg College’s EpiCenter.

Conference Goal:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD to address the needs of those patients with chronic suicidal, self-injurious, and other dysfunctional behaviors. DBT has been proven to be highly effective in reducing suicidal behavior, instances of self-harm, and emergency psychiatric hospitalizations in patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and other psychiatric diagnoses.

The conference will provide a one-day overview of this treatment in addition to providing a synopsis of recently published research supporting the effectiveness of DBT.

Topics and Speakers:
7:30-8:00 a.m. Sign-in, registration, continental breakfast
• 8-9 a.m. Dialectical Behavior Therapy: What is it, Where has it Been, and Where is it Going? Edward Selby, MS
• 9-10 a.m. Cultivating the Dialectical Stance: From Black and White to Living Color. Kiera Van Gelder, MFA
10-10:15 a.m. Break
• 10:15-11:15 a.m. Understanding and Practical Use of Distress Tolerance Skills. Suzanne Holt, LCSW
• 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Accept and Acknowledge: Validation Strategies in DBT. Henah Gupta, PhD and Anna Traylor, PsyD
12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch
• 1:15-2:15 p.m. You’ve Learned the Model and Memorized the Skills, Now What? The Core Beliefs, Practices and Assumptions Required to Make a Great DBT Therapist. Nancy Gordon, LCSW
2:15-2:30 p.m. Break
• 2:30-2:45 p.m. DBT Case Studies. Stacy Louk, PhD
• 2:45-4:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: Overcoming Your Most Difficult Challenges in DBT. Gordon, Selby, and Van Gelder
4:30 p.m. Evaluation/CE BROKER/End

You can register by going to St. Petersburg College’s web site or by calling (727) 341-4772. The course number is HHP0335 Class #4432 and the fee for the day is $79.00. A continental breakfast and lunch provided.

This course is approved for 8 contact hours for Psych Nurses, LCSW, LMHC, LMFT and Psychology. St. Petersburg College is a Florida-approved provider CE Broker #50-2525.


Quotable Linehan

August 26, 2009

The search for validity is dialectical, in that the therapist must find the grain of wisdom and authenticity in a patient’s responses that on the whole may have been dysfunctional. At times, validating a patient’s response is like finding a nugget of gold in a cup of sand. The assumption of DBT is that there is a nugget of gold in every cup of sand; there is some inherent validity in every response. Attention to the nugget of gold does not preclude attention to the sand, however. Indeed, validation strategies are balanced by problem-solving strategies, which focus on finding and taking action on characteristics of the patient that must be changed. —Marsha M. Linehan, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder