In a recent article/review of Borderline Personality Disorder treatment options and management methodologies, the author quotes the Dr. John Gunderson in the New England Journal of Medicine May 26 issue:
“…BPD is present in about 6% of primary care patients and persons in community-based samples and in 15 to 20% of patients in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics,” writes John G. Gunderson, MD, from the Psychosocial and Personality Research Program, McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. “Patients with BPD usually enter treatment facilities after suicide attempts or after episodes of deliberate self-injury. Such episodes result in an average hospital stay of 6.3 days per year and nearly 1 emergency room visit every 2 years, rates that are 6 to 12 times those among patients with a major depressive disorder.”
As you can see BPD has a major financial impact on the health care system, not to mention the distress for the patients and their families.
When reviewing the various treatment options, the author says this about mentalization therapy:
Mentalization-based therapy is a cognitive or psychodynamic therapy including individual as well as group therapy. While assuming a “not-knowing” stance, the therapist insists that the patient “mentalize,” or examine and label his or her own experiences and those of others. This emphasis on thinking before reacting may be a process central to all effective therapies.
That “not-knowing” stance is what I tell the nons that I know: Be a detective, not a judge.