Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) refers to a mental condition characterized by extreme mood swings and uncontrollable emotions, resulting in unstable relationships and a lower quality of life.
Often, BPD symptoms are undiagnosed unless they become severe. BPD may also lead to chronic feelings of emptiness, uncontrollable anger, and even thoughts of self-harm.
Online psychotherapy can be a good option for the treatment of BPD. In this guide, we’ve reviewed two online therapy platforms that can help you overcome borderline personality disorder.
Best online platforms for BPD therapy
The following online platforms provide access to experienced BPD therapists who can help you manage the symptoms of this disorder.
BetterHelp is an online platform that has a number of therapists with expertise in treating people with BDP. The therapists on this platform are well-experienced, and many have the credentials and qualifications necessary to help you with borderline personality disorder.
To begin, you need to sign up for the BetterHelp platform to get online BPD therapy from these therapists. On signup, you’ll need to answer certain questions related to your BPD symptoms and therapist preferences, such as their gender. Based on these answers, BetterHelp will match you with a BPD therapist who meets your specific needs.
BetterHelp uses different online methods of communication to help you access BPD therapy sessions. You can connect with your BPD therapist over text messages, live chat, and audio calling. BetterHelp also offers video sessions where you can get BPD therapy in a virtual face-to-face setting.
You can choose to use any of these communication methods, depending on what works best for you. Typically, you’ll have one 30-45 minute video call each week, and you’ll be able to message your therapist in between each session to get additional help. However, you can also choose to have your weekly session over text message, if you’d prefer.
Also, the cost of online BPD therapy on BetterHelp is very affordable compared to in-person sessions. Although BetterHelp is not covered by any health insurance providers in the United States, their fees are very reasonable, and there are also financial aid options available for those on low incomes, including students, as well as those facing financial hardship at the moment.
Online-therapy.com is another online platform where you can connect with licensed, experienced BPD therapists. The counselors on this platform mainly use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to treat mental health conditions, including BPD.
Like on BetterHelp, you will need to answer a few questions about your symptoms, preferences in a therapist, and availability when you sign up for BPD therapy with Online-therapy.com. Next, the platform matches you with a licensed therapist experienced in BPD therapy. You can change your therapist at any time in the future if you are not satisfied with them for any reason.
Moreover, on this website, you can also get complete access to a complete mental health course and a range of hands-on tools, helping you to overcome the issues that you’re facing. A subscription allows you to make regular contact with your BPD therapist (Mon-Fri), and it also gives you access to yoga/meditation videos, and a daily journal, which your counselor can guide you on how to use.
Most of the time though, your main interactions with your therapist will be through weekly video or audio calls with them. You can also choose to get help over text message if you’d prefer.
The subscription plan for online therapy at this platform costs less than seeing an in-person therapist every week, in most cases, which is great. Online-therapy.com offers three different subscription plans for different monthly prices, so if you’d prefer not to pay more for extras, like the meditation videos, you can choose a cheaper subscription plan.
Online vs in-person therapy for BPD
You can get BPD therapy either online, or using in-person sessions with a BPD therapist.
Below, we’ve explained some key areas to consider when choosing whether to see a therapist in person or over the internet.
Methods of communication
Online BPD therapy offers a wider range of communication methods to connect with your therapist. You can access BPD therapy sessions on a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet using a service like BetterHelp.
On the other hand, you need to go to a therapist’s clinic if you want in-person BPD therapy. Sometimes, you might be able to find a therapist who you can see in person, who also provides the option of email therapy and phone calls as well. However, these types of therapists can be a bit harder to find.
Online platforms provide you with easy access to qualified BPD therapists even if you reside in a rural or remote area. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an in-person therapist, it might be hard to find a mental health professional near you who specializes in helping people with BPD, depending on where you live.
Using online therapy, you can access qualified counselors, no matter if you live outside of a major town or city.
Getting BPD therapy using an online platform is more convenient for some people than traditional face-to-face sessions. With online counseling, you can get BPD therapy over any modern laptop or smartphone from the comfort of your own home.
Moreover, most online therapists have flexible scheduling compared to those who offer only in-person sessions. You might find it easier to schedule counseling sessions outside of business hours, with a therapist in another time zone for example.
Generally, online platforms cost less than in-person therapists. Most online services that offer BPD therapy charge weekly or monthly, while in-person therapists charge according to the number of sessions. However, online therapy platforms are very rarely covered by health insurance providers, so if you have coverage, it may be cheaper to see a therapist in person.
Online platforms may offer special discounts if you are struggling financially, and some in-person therapists also offer sliding-scale pricing for those on lower incomes.
Your personal preference
Although online BPD therapy is very accessible and is more convenient for some than traditional in-person therapy, you may still prefer face-to-face BDP therapy if you’d feel more comfortable speaking with a therapist face-to-face.
Ultimately, what matters most is that you are able to open up to your counselor, and that you feel comfortable getting help from them. For some, you might find it easier to speak to a therapist online, including over text. However, for others, it might feel easier to get help face-to-face.
Severity of BPD symptoms
If you are suffering from severe BPD symptoms, such as extreme mood swings, it’s often best to see a therapist in person, rather than over the internet.
Face-to-face, a therapist is able to provide a closer level of support, which is particularly important if you are suffering from severe BPD.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
About 1.6% of the United States population struggles with the symptoms of BPD.
The exact cause of BPD is still unknown, but it may occur due to childhood trauma, genetic predisposition, or the improper functioning of hormones that regulate emotions.
The main symptoms of BPD include the following:
Extreme mood swings
With BPD, you may feel sad in one moment and suddenly be happy the next – your mood is prone to changing very quickly. And small things may easily affect your mood, for example, you might easily get angry as a result of a minor inconvenience. This sort of erratic behavior can be very stressful for you and your family.
Due to emotional instability and unpredictable behavior, you may start to face relationship issues. You may find it difficult to establish a friendship or relationship as a result of BPD.
Emotional instability can make you overreact in case of arguments with your partner, leading to the escalation of these conflicts, eventually poisoning the relationship.
It can be hard for you to maintain a positive or accurate self-image if you have BPD. You may experience low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness with borderline personality disorder. Sometimes, this can lead to depression, which a therapist can help you work through.
Thoughts of self-harm
In BPD, you may engage yourself in self-harming activities such as substance abuse, alcoholism, and cutting or scratching. Moreover, you can also experience suicidal thoughts if your BPD symptoms deteriorate.
If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call the suicide prevention hotline immediately on 1-800-273-8255, or 911 in an emergency situation. And if you are struggling with cutting or scratching, it’s often best to see a therapist in person, rather than online, so that they can provide a closer level of support.
Fear of abandonment
The fear of abandonment refers to the fear of being left alone. If your partner is busy and not giving you enough attention, coming home late from the office, or going on trips or vacations with friends, you may throw tantrums or engage in impulsive behavior.
You may try different means of changing your partner’s behaviors in such a situation. These may include fighting, begging, crying, or clutching your partner, which may lead to instability in the relationship.
Sense of emptiness
With BPD, you may experience feelings of depression and emptiness that can make you feel like you mean nothing to anyone. You may possess an emotional emptiness inside you, which can make you feel extremely lonely.
To fill this emptiness, you may start adopting unhealthy behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.
Types of therapies used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder
BPD therapists use many different psychotherapies to treat the symptoms of borderline personality disorder.
Some of the therapies commonly used for BPD treatment are discussed below.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the main types of treatment for BPD as it can positively alter and reframe your negative thought patterns.
First, a therapist may identify and assess the main symptoms you’re facing. Next, your therapist will use cognitive restructuring to help you understand your distorted thoughts and self-image. You can try to change these negative thoughts and behaviors after coming to recognize them.
Lastly, a DBT therapist may help you set achievable goals for long and short-term emotional stability and behavioral change. Moreover, a therapist may combine your CBT sessions with skills training to help you manage negative thoughts and behaviors through breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT can help you regulate emotional instability and anger outbursts, and help you to overcome low self-esteem. Through either individual or group DBT, a therapist helps you learn how to control your emotions and feelings.
Mindfulness is the main technique used by a BPD therapist during dialectical behavioral therapy. Using this technique, your therapist may ask you to focus on the present positive moments rather than negative past events. In doing so, you can be more in control of your thoughts and behaviors.
Furthermore, DBT therapy also focuses on developing interpersonal skills, such as communication skills. This can help you to more effectively communicate with your partner for example, if BPD is causing issues in your relationship.
Mentalization-based therapy (MBT)
Mentalization refers to recognizing your mental state and its expression in the form of actions or reactions. MBT can help you understand your emotions, behavior, responses, and desires, and allow you to read the intentional behaviors of others.
In this type of therapy, your counselor may explore your past negative events to identify the origin of your negative behaviors. Cognitive modification can help you move from a low mental state to a more positive frame of mind.
Thus, MBT allows you to be more aware of your mental state, helping with emotional regulation and the management of impulsive behaviors.
Schema-focused therapy is an integrative approach to treating BPD that involves CBT, psychoanalysis, emotion-focused therapy, and other psychotherapies. It can help you cope with negative thoughts that usually overpower you in BPD, such as fear of abandonment or being deceived, or feelings of emptiness.
Schema refers to the negative patterns you may have developed if your emotional needs weren’t met during childhood. In schema therapy, a therapist helps you learn how to fulfill your emotional needs in acceptable ways. Different psychotherapeutic approaches including emotive, interpersonal effectiveness, cognitive, and behavioral techniques are used to identify and overcome your childhood schemas.
How to cope with BPD
Below, we’ve explained a few steps you can take on an individual level to minimize the severity of BPD symptoms.
Recognize and divert your negative emotions
It can be very helpful to recognize and label the emotions that may provoke you to behave aggressively.
As much as possible, live in the present moments and don’t focus on the past. Moreover, it can help if you accept that what you feel is not always happening in reality. You can also stimulate your senses to overcome the negative thoughts prevailing in your mind, even through simple activities like going for a walk.
For example, if you feel empty, activate your sense of taste by chewing some strong-flavored gum, or eating salt and vinegar chips. If you feel numb, activate your sense of touch by taking a bath in hot or cold water or holding ice cubes in your hands for a few seconds.
It may help if you listen to pleasant music to stimulate a sense of sound. Thus, when you feel low or if you are angry, try to listen to relaxing music to help calm down. Similarly, you can also take care of yourself by exercising regularly, reducing stress, and eating a balanced diet.
Learn to control your impulsiveness
It can also help if you control your anger and your impulsiveness. When you feel distressed, try to stay calm, and don’t immediately react to every situation. Whenever you feel stressed, find a quiet place, sit in a corner or on a sofa, and take a few deep breaths.
Feel your internal emotions, focus on yourself, with your feet on the floor, and hands on your lap. Try to distract yourself from the situation by watching TV, using your mobile, or calling a friend. Such a technique may help you to ignore external triggers and give you more time to think about the best way to respond to what’s happened, rather than acting impulsively.
Enhance your interpersonal abilities
Your negative behaviors can hurt the feelings of those close to you, and afterward, you may feel bad about this.
Such negative behaviors can be managed when you focus on your thoughts and understand your emotions. Try to learn to understand others’ intentions and perspectives as well as your internal thoughts. This can prove tricky for some people, but a therapist can help you with this. They can also help to teach you communication and listening skills, which can prove very useful for those with BPD.
BPD can seriously affect your life and make your relationships unstable, as you may exhibit extreme mood swings and aggressiveness.
Online psychotherapy can be highly effective in managing the symptoms of BPD. BetterHelp and Online-therapy.com are renowned online platforms where you can find licensed therapists experienced in treating BPD.
Using CBT, DBT, MBT, and schema-focused therapy, these therapists can help you overcome the symptoms of BPD and resolve the mental health issues that you’re experiencing.
About the author
When people experience mental trauma or face severe stress, their lives can unravel. My job is to help begin the healing process. I help my patients improve their mental health, strengthen relationships with others, and begin to overcome past traumas. I practice a large range of psycho-behavioral therapies, and have more than three years’ experience in clinical psychology and counseling.
In my spare time, I’m also a professional writer who spreads awareness about mental health issues. I have written many articles on this topic over the years for numerous different publications.
My educational background includes an M.B.B.S from the University of Health and Sciences, Lahore, majoring in Behavioral Sciences, and a Bachelors from G.C University, Faisalabad.