Is Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook Worth It?

A Review of Linehan's Skills Training Manual and Workbook for BPD

Linehan's Skills Training Manual and Workbook for BPD
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The Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. is a companion piece for the treatment manual for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is considered the gold standard of treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD) patients and uses behavioral therapy to help patients at risk of suicide or self-harm. Linehan's manual on BPD expands on this treatment option and the book is immensely popular for both healthcare providers and clients.

However, it is not intended for the general public and can be a difficult read, so you may want to reconsider whether it's really worth the purchase price to you. 

This workbook is mainly a guide for therapists conducting group skills training in DBT. It provides a comprehensive overview of many DBT techniques to help a therapist aid their clients and provides new and innovative exercises that can be used during sessions.

For Clients With Borderline Personality Disorder

It can be a valuable resource for you if you or a loved one are dealing with BPD and also have some scientific knowledge. The second half of the workbook is a series of handouts that lay out certain techniques and coping skills that are taught in therapy, such as mindfulness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance skills. It can be a strong reinforcement tool in between therapy sessions and can be a useful guide for you if you need some additional assistance, but it will require serious study in order to apply what you've learned to daily life.

While there are valuable sections available for you if you have BPD, much of the book is written as a manual geared towards healthcare providers with significant medical education. It can be difficult to follow for the average person who lacks a degree in medicine or psychology. While the exercises and skill sets discussed in the manual can be used in regular life, understanding how they work and their exact application requires specific training.

Is the Book Worth it?

For therapists looking for more information on borderline personality disorder and dialectical behavior therapy, Linehan's manual will be a very useful resource well worth its purchase price. But if you are a client with BPD looking for something that is helpful and teaches you how to cope with symptoms with new skills, this book will likely not be worth your money.

Instead, you should look for a workbook with practical advice geared specifically towards clients. You may find self-help books like The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, & Distress Tolerance by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey Wood, and Jeffrey Brantly much more relevant to your own situation.

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