Finding support for Borderline Personality Disorder/Traits and emotional sensitivity can be very difficult. These experiences just don’t seem to be a priority for most helping professionals and in some cases these professionals outright deny service for discriminatory reasons. In other cases, many of us cannot access services due to geographical and/or financial reasons or encounter other barriers because they have “complex” needs.
It is my hope that this list (which will continue to grow) provides you with some resources that you can use in your own life. I am always conscious of cost but will include some resources that do have fees. The majority of my program resources will be Ontario or Canada based as that is where I am from. Please let me know of resources you feel should be added to the list by commenting below!
- Young Ones- Breaking Barriers Organization: ages 13-24, Toronto, consumer-survivor organization that provides treatment for mental health/addiction/concurrent disorders for free (up to 10 sessions), provides mentorship opportunities and volunteer positions for those with lived experience. Full disclosure: I play a huge role within this organization, but I have also used their services so I trust them.
- Planned Parenthood Toronto: ages 13-29, access to a general practitioner, psychiatrist, and social workers. Free with a valid Ontario Health Card. They also occasionally have free wellness groups which are advertised on their Facebook page. These groups can be general or be tailored to the needs to newcomers and LGBT individuals. I have been going here personally for the past 4 years and have attended one of their 10 week Mindfulness Meditation groups.
- DBT Path: psychoeducational online Dialectical Behaviour Therapy class. Taught by two peers (Debbie Corso and Amanda Smith) who have experienced BPD and have used DBT very effectively in their lives. Classes are weekly and the fee is based on a sliding scale. There are 3 modules and each is 12 weeks. You pay per module. Amanda is also a therapist and you have access to her for a very reasonable fee if you would like to speak with her personally. DBT Path also offers a paid online course for loved ones to help them understand and cope with the experiences of BPD and emotional sensitivity. Also, check out the DBT Path Facebook page. I have used DBT Path and it has changed my life. I paid $97 US/month which came to between $118-$128 a month (exchange rate fluctuation).
- Psychology Today- Borderline Personality Disorder Therapist: This is a database of therapists in Toronto that work with individuals with BPD and/or the associated symptoms (use this database to search for a therapist in your area). Each therapist has a fee which varies, but you have the ability to scroll through the list and pick a therapist that works for you. I found my current therapist using this database. Note: Social Workers charge less and if money is tight make sure you look for a therapist with a sliding scale and contact them to explain your situation.
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)- Borderline Personality Disorder Clinic: Free, provides assessment, DBT, and a skills group. That waitlist is huge and I have heard hit or miss comments about the program, but it’s an option (if they open their intake again).
- Ontario Shores- Borderline Personality Self-Regulation Clinic: 18 years+, free, offers outpatient DBT, individual and group counselling. I do not believe they will accept borderline traits diagnosis as they rejected me for that reason and other than that I do not know much about the program other than that it is very new.
- Dialectical Living: The most affordable and most available DBT in Toronto! Dialectical Living is a peer-led organization and DBT is provided to individuals with BPD and other mental health issues and their family/friends. It is a 24 week program if you decide to take both the Intro to DBT and the advanced DBT (each 12 weeks). Julie, the founder is a social worker and a peer. They also offer one on one counselling. Dialectical Living is also looking for peers to help teach DBT. If you have some DBT and want to give back to the community through teaching and/or working with others one on one and be paid for your exquisite knowledge and expertise please contact us! Training is provided. I am involved with this organization and currently training to become a teacher/counsellor.
- Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre: Surfing Tsunamis is a free 20-week DBT skills group. Required to have a current therapist/counsellor and really struggle with emotional dysregulation. I have heard that this program is only able to support 48 individuals a year so keep checking in with them. Catchment may also play a role. If you are outside of their area you may not be accepted, but no harm in trying!
- My Dialectical Life: An affordable, peer-led DBT self-help psychoeducational program by Amanda Smith (co-facilitator at DBT Path and author of a book listed below). You can subscribe for $15 US/month (currently roughly $20 CAD/month) and you receive daily emails from Amanda with DBT support. This program is best for individuals are have already been through a DBT program and would like support in using the skills every day!
- The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance: This fairly affordable workbook teaches the skills of DBT in a very accessible and compassionate manner. I personally use this book and I really enjoy it. It is also the book used by DBT Path if you decide to take the online class. The activities are easy but insightful and it is a book you can constantly refer back to.
- Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder: My Journey Out of Hell Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Written by Debbie Corso, this e-book shares her first 100 posts and her recent reflections on them. I have this book and it helped me understand how to use DBT skills and also made me feel more hopeful about my future as someone who is emotionally sensitive.
- Stop Sabotaging: A 31 Day DBT Challenge to Change Your Life: Also by Debbie Corso, this e-book provides fun little DBT skills activities for every day. I have this book and it is a nice introduction to gradually bringing DBT skills into your daily life.
DBT® Skills Training Manual, Second Edition: Written by Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT, this book is a tad pricy but has been described as the “DBT Bible”. The campanion book is cheaper and contains 225 user-friendly handouts and worksheets on the DBT skills. Buying the Training Manual also provides you web access to the campanion book worksheets which you can download and print. The odd worksheet I have done from this book has been amazingly indepth and insightful. It goes above and beyond what some other DBT worksheets ask of you and I find I enjoy them more.
- Boundaries Where You End and I Begin: How To Recognize and Set Healthy Boundaries: This book by Anne Katherine is a great read and I learned about why I have difficulty setting and respecting boundaries. The activities in the book are very helpful and the content made me more aware of myself and what I need to do to create boundaries in my life. I find myself recommending this book to friends, family, and co-workers.
- The Hurt Yourself Less Workbook: Free, created for self-harmers by self-harmers! I have used this book and enjoyed it in small bursts. The fact that it’s created by people who get it makes me feel good about it.
- DBT Skills Handbook: A PDF copy of a DBT skills handbook used by Fulton State Hospital. Free! I use this little handbook in combination with my other workbooks and handouts.
- The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Wellness Planner: Developed and written by Amanda Smith, LMSW. She is a peer and I am currently learning DBT from her! She is a great person and she has created this planner to support BPD/emotionally sensitive people in using and tracking DBT skills.
- Healing from BPD.org: Website run by Debbie Corso who is a peer. Her website addresses a variety of topics related to BPD and DBT. I find myself constantly referring to this website to understand skills and as a resource to send to others. Also, follow on Facebook.
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Self-Help Resources: A large amount of CBT worksheets for you to print off and complete for free! Poke around the sidebar, there are a lot of resources here!
- Practice Ground- DBT Handouts: A large amount of DBT worksheets for you to print for free!!! Click around, there is a lot!!!!!
- Psychology Tools: Again, poke around! There are a lot of free worksheets on this site!
- Therapist Aid: Guess what I’m going to tell you to do? POKE AROUND! I might be a little obsessed with worksheets but these are the handouts your therapists may give you anyways and you can get them for free!!
- DBT Self-Help: A website by people who have used DBT in their own lives. Great rundown of all the skills.