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Clinician perspectives on recovery and borderline personality disorder

Fiona Donald (School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Cameron Duff (Centre for People Organisation and Work, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Katherine Lawrence (School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Jillian Broadbear (Spectrum – Statewide Service for Personality Disorder, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Australia)
Sathya Rao (Spectrum – Statewide Service for Personality Disorder, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Recovery is an important concept within mental healthcare policy. There is a growing expectation that clinicians adopt approaches that align with the recovery principles, despite significant disagreements about what recovery-oriented interventions might look like in practice. It is also unclear how recovery may be relevant to personality disorder. This paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 16 clinicians were interviewed at two mental health services in Melbourne, Australia. These clinicians had specialist training and experience in the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and provided insight regarding the meaning and relevance of the recovery paradigm in the context of BPD. Thematic analysis within a grounded theory approach was used to understand key themes identified from the interview data.

Findings

Thematic analysis suggested that clinicians understand recovery in three distinct ways: as moving towards a satisfying and meaningful life, as different ways of relating to oneself and as remission of symptoms and improved psychosocial functioning. Clinicians also identified ways in which recovery-related interventions in current use were problematic for individuals diagnosed with BPD. Different approaches that may better support recovery were discussed. This study suggests that practices supporting recovery in BPD may need to be tailored to individuals with BPD, with a focus on cultivating agency while acknowledging the creative nature of recovery.

Originality/value

Clinicians are in a strong position to observe recovery. Their insights suggest key refinements that will enhance the ways in which recovery in BPD is conceptualized and can be promoted.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Dr J. Sabura Allen to the early stages of this research project.

Citation

Donald, F., Duff, C., Lawrence, K., Broadbear, J. and Rao, S. (2017), "Clinician perspectives on recovery and borderline personality disorder", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 199-209. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-09-2016-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited