My Daughter Has Just Been Diagnosed with BPD - Help!

Its a stressful time for families.

I have worked with many parents struggling with a new diagnosis and I understand how hard it can be. Rest assured there is hope - and help.

BPD is not a life sentence!

It is treatable and with the help of new approaches and a skilled psychotherapist your daughter can lead a fulfilling, rich and meaningful life.

Getting help early is the key.

The important thing is finding a good therapist and getting your young person ready to take on the task of recovery through psychotherapy.

Its not always easy, but it is possible.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a therapist:

  • The therapist needs to be able to have a good rapport with your daughter.

  • The therapist needs to have strong boundaries and provide a safe space for your child to discuss issues without feeling judged or invalidated.

  • The therapist needs to be able to work with your child to develop a safety plan and alternatives to self-harming or other dangerous behaviours if these are present.

  • The therapist needs to be able to teach your child how to manage relationships and social situations which might be challenging.

  • The therapist needs to be able to help your child learn to self-soothe.

  • The therapist should be experienced in working with people with BPD.

  • The therapy needs to be structured and preferably at a set time weekly, so that your child can feel “held” by the knowledge that she will be seeing her therapist regularly. This is important as people with BPD often find it hard to manage distress. The understanding that treatment is ongoing and that they will be seeing their therapist soon allows them to feel safer.

    As your child develops a good relationship with her therapist, she will become (to a certain extent) dependant on the relationship. The relationship should provide an extension of her coping strategies until she learns to develop stronger ones for herself.

My free BPD GUIDE provides information and resources about BPD, trauma and Complex PTSD for parents and young people.

For my free BPD GUIDE, please fill out this form:

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More Information about BPD Treatment in Melbourne.

Please note, there are DBT programs running in Melbourne which can help your child develop social skills, self-awareness and the ability to tolerate distress.

These programs are different to individual psychotherapy, although some of them do offer phone coaching and some DBT programs will offer an individual therapy component.

It is a personal choice whether to undertake individual psychotherapy or to join a group program.

Many people do both and this can be useful to develop and practice skills and increase self-awareness.


DBT is typically run as a 24-week program, often taken twice to create a one-year program. In its standard form, there are three ways you receive DBT during the program. There are also shorter versions of DBT such as 12 week courses depending on the setting, and some versions do not include telephone coaching. DBT has been adapted for different needs.


A group facilitator teaches specific skills in a classroom setting, and sets tasks for the group members to practise between sessions. The skills training group typically meets once weekly, usually for around 2½ hours, across the 24-week program.


Running at the same time as the group, individual therapy typically occurs weekly to enhance your motivation and commitment to the program. It’s also an opportunity to discuss and apply specific DBT skills to your current everyday life.


On-the-spot telephone coaching from your therapist can be available at times during the week when you’re struggling. Your therapist guides you and encourages you to apply your new DBT skills to address and manage your issues.

How to get DBT treatment

In most Australian states, DBT programs can be accessed through both the public and private mental health system.

Public services

Public DBT programs are free to people living in the catchment area of a hospital that offers a program. Talk to your case manager, mental health professional or GP about referral options.

Depending on the hospital, there may be a waiting time to access the program. Some DBT programs run continuously across the year, while others operate on a more specific schedule.

Private services

Private DBT programs require payment. Prices will vary depending on the specific service you choose. If you have private health insurance, check that it covers psychiatric admissions.

If you don’t have private health insurance but you’re eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), you may be able to allocate funds to access a DBT program within the private system.

To join a private DBT program, a psychiatrist from the specific hospital or clinic can provide a referral for you.

Finding a service near you

To find services providing BPD treatment in Australia or New Zealand, visit Project Air Strategy’s Service Directory.

For state-based mental health assistance:

  • Victorian Mental Health Service Directory and Spectrum

  • NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (available 24 hours)

  • ACT Mental Health Triage Service 1800 629 354

  • QLD Health 13 43 25 84

  • SA Health Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65 (available 24 hours)

  • WA Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788 (metro) or 08 9224 8888 (State Wide)

  • Tasmanian Mental Health Service Helpline 1800 332 388

  • NT Crisis Assessment Telephone Triage and Liaison Service 1800 682 288.