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Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change Paperback – August 12, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0195379587 ISBN-10: 0195379586 Edition: 1st

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Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change + Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship + Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195379586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195379587
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Valerie Porr has championed the cause of people with borderline personality disorder for decades. Her understanding of the disorder and its effects on the individuals themselves and their families, partners, and friends is outstanding. This readable and informative book distils her years of experience and her first hand knowledge of how to help patients and families, providing the practical wisdom that comes only with a genuine understanding of what it is to be 'borderline'. This is required reading for anyone, from novice to expert, who seeks an understanding of borderline personality disorder and who wants practical guidance on what helps."
--Anthony Bateman, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Barnet, Enfield, and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and Visiting Professor University College, London

"Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder by Valerie Porr is like water for a parched land. Few psychiatric disorders are as misunderstood as borderline personality disorder, a condition that can be profoundly disabling to patients and devastating to families. Opinions about what families should do are plentiful, but evidence-based guidance, derived from solid research, is rare. This is what this book delivers. It is an invaluable roadmap for families of patients with BPD."
--John Oldham, Chief of Staff, The Menninger Clinic

"An important book for family members of people with BPD."
--Larry Siever, Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

"She ably explains neuroscience as it applies here and emphasizes understanding, validation, and acceptance (not unconditional love)... An outstanding model of the psychoeducational approach, this volume bridges a daunting gap between laity and psychotherapists. Highly recommended for professionals as well as families of these patients." --Library Journal

About the Author

Valerie Porr, M.A, is a mental health educator and advocate trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and the founder and president of the Treatment and Research Advancements National Association for Personality Disorder (TARA NAPD). She conducts psycho-educational training seminars for family members of those with BPD in New York and elsewhere.

More About the Author

Valerie Porr, M.A.,
Ms. Porr is President/Founder of the Treatment and Research Advancements National Association for Personality Disorder (TARA NAPD), a not for profit education and advocacy organization representing consumers, families, and providers affected by BPD. She is the author of Overcoming BPD, a Family Guide for Healing and Change, (Oxford University Press, August 2010,) co-author of New Hope for People with BPD, (Bockian, N, Porr, V 2002) co-editor of the BPD Journal of the California Alliance of the Mentally Ill and has published numerous articles on family experiences and BPD advocacy issues. She is intensively trained in Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) and has developed a curriculum combining DBT and Mentalization teaching family members how to help their loved ones with BPD while helping themselves. Ms. Porr conducts educational seminars and Family DBT Coping Skills Workshops, trains family leaders, speaks at family and professional conferences, and has coordinated BPD research conferences with the support of the National Institute of Mental Health. She operates the only BPD Helpline and Resource and Referral service in the US, affording her the opportunity to speak with and collect data from thousands of people with BPD and their family members.
Ms. Porr has a family consultation practice.
She is also an artist who was a successful clothing designer and businesswoman and has taught fashion business at Parson's School of Design and biology and the sciences at high school level.

Customer Reviews

This book is written with compassion for persons suffering from BPD, and those who love them.
She helps the reader understand what is going on in the mind and brain of their loved one with BPD and shows them the best, most effective approach to use.
This book really helped me understand what my loved one was feeling and gave me encouragement to go down what I feel is the right path.
Krista N White

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on September 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been on a 6 year journey trying to understand and deal with these strange and mystifying behaviors in a family member, ultimately diagnosed as borderline personality disorder (BPD). This book is one of the best that I have ever read on the topic and it gave me new insights and understanding on the neurobiological system and symptoms. Time and time, Porr provides wonderful examples to help explain complex concepts. For example, Porr uses a wonderful analogy of nine colored balls that a juggler would toss into the air to describe each symptom:
#1 blue: impulse control dysregulation
#2 red: mood or affective dysregulation
#3 purple: sensitivity dysregulation
#4 green: cognitive dysregulation
#5 yellow: emotional processing dysregulation
#6 orange: sleep dysregulation
#7 black: pain dysregulation
#8 white: memory dysregulation
#9 pink: anxiety

Reading this book gave me "new eyes" and insights regarding the disorder. It helped me to feel more compassionate towards my family member and learn new ways to communicate and interact. At the same time, Porr emphasized that the person with BPD too needs to do the work to learn coping skills and minimize stressors.

After reading segments of this book, my husband who had thought the family member was misbehaving on purpose, changed his mind after reading Porr's description of the neurobiological underpinnings of the disorder (pp. 40-75)and he also became much more compassionate and understanding. That was a major breathrough!

Porr discusses various treatment methods including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and mentalization. I greatly appreciate her perspective and empathy for the families who are going through this with their loved ones. She really "gets it" because she herself has a loved one with BPD.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By AvidReader on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a first book on Borderline Personality Disorder, choose this one: it is grounded in the latest biological research, decades of on-the-ground experience, and a detailed prescription for action. Both great context and great application. If you've read any other books on BPD, then you're obliged to read this one, and quickly: it provides real science and context and -- most importantly -- offers an action plan that works with, rather than against, the illness. Most of my research has led me to angst and despair; Valerie Porr's book has given me new hope by enabling me to understand, encouraging me to accept, and equipping me to act.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By YSB on July 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our young adult daughter has BPD, a devastating condition (as you know if you are reading this review), not only for her but for our entire family. Over the past 14 years, we have experienced many wrong diagnoses; countless trials with medications that did little to relieve her symptoms and in many cases made things much worse; and, perhaps most important, made us all feel that we were resigned to a life of pain and suffering. For the first time in 14 years, we have hope. I can't tell you how good it feels.

It is alarming to us how little the psychiatric community knows of BPD. The psychiatrists we've worked with only want to prescribe drugs, and none of the psychologists we've known have been DBT-certified. Consequently, we've gotten advice like "set limits and boundaries" or "have her sign a contract with you" or "keep her in the hospital for a few more days - the drugs will work." If you have any experience with a loved one in your family who has BPD, then you know those approaches do not work. In fact, they make things worse.

Valerie Porr's book humanizes the condition. She places us in our daughter's shoes, experiencing life with a defective amygdala and pre-frontal cortex. She introduces the concept that if my mate and I learn DBT theory and skills, we will slowly be able to teach our daughter the same behaviors so that she can live a successful, independent life.

Thank you, Valerie Porr, for writing the best book on the market about BPD! And to our fellow Amazon readers: save yourself a lot of time, money, and grief. Read this book first. It is filled with good, solid information that will help your loved one and your family. You won't regret it.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By MS Mitchell on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder" is a breath of fresh air among many books for loved ones of people with BPD. Filled with up-to-the-minute neurobiological and therapeutic research, Ms. Porr has delivered an intelligent, compassionate and insightful book. Filled with useful skills from evidence-based and time-proven therapies, such as DBT and Mentalization-based therapy, this book is a must-read for family members struggling with this often confusing and frustrating disorder. Unlike several books on this subject, this book fuels compassion, rather than anger and resentment. Thoughtfully written and full of insights found nowhere else, I highly recommend Ms. Porr's book. Just the reviewers alone (on the back of the book and with in the preface) - including Anthony Bateman (a co-developer of MBT), Larry Siever (one of the most respected researchers of the disorder), Linda Dimeff (a top DBT researcher and clinician) and John Oldham (President-Elect of the American College of Psychiatrists) - should signal that this book is well-researched and not of the garden-variety "self-help" ilk. Thank you Ms. Porr for such an excellent work.
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