“…repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality. The child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness.”–Judith Lewis Herman, MD
What is your personality?
Your personality is the way you see, understand and relate to the outside world. It is how you combine thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that they make you unique. Personality forms during childhood and is created by (epi)genetic influences (your parents’ personalities) as well as by environmental influences (life experience, friends, etc.).
Some people have a hard time understanding situations and relationships to others. These people have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking and behavior that can lead to problems in relationships, social encounters, work and school. When a person during childhood was unable to care for or protect herself, she must compensate for the failures of adult care and protection with the only means at her disposal, an immature system of psychological defenses…. When someone’s personality style and / or behavior as a result of this, creates a meaningful burden on themselves or others, or when their behaviors consistently go against society’s expectations, the person may be labeled with what is known as a “Personality Disorder”.
Some behaviors / beliefs that indicate a personality disorder include:
- Mood fluctuations
- Stormy or unstable relationships
- Social isolation
- Sudden outbursts of anger
- Suspicion or mistrust of others
- Difficulty making friends
- Need instant gratification
- Weak impulse control
- Alcohol and / or substance use
It is important to note that many of these signs appear in childhood or adolescence and resolve on their own in early adulthood. It is not uncommon for a child to suddenly have anger, or for a teenager to have weak impulse control. It is considered a personality disorder when these problems persist through adulthood (18 years or older). Research shows that most people get better, either with time or with treatment.
Adequate treatment of personality disorders
At the Institute for Bodymind Integration we offer help for personality disorders. We use a bio-psycho-social approach that focuses on the developmental and social needs of the individual and the family. Adequate intervention of personality disorders includes:
- Individual Therapy: Individual Therapy begins with identifying your erroneous cognitive, emotional, and / or behavioral patterns that contribute to interpersonal difficulty. Therapist and you then work together to identify, practice and integrate transformation and self-management skills to replace ineffective patterns. At IBI we work with all levels of personality: body, emotions, thoughts, will and spirit. We use a map of consciousness (an evolutionary process) and a map of personality.
- Family therapy (including couple / couple therapy): Family members often bear the lion’s share of the burden because they are the ones most frequently in contact with the client. Family therapy helps family members better understand the nature of the client’s disorder, as well as take on their own role and responsibility, and better prepare to provide the empathy and support the client and system will need to change.
- Group Therapy: Group therapy, provides you with a supportive atmosphere to learn emotional regulation, self-calming techniques, and work on your interpersonal relationships.
- Medical Evaluation: In some cases medication can sometimes be useful in treating certain symptoms of the personality disorder, or treating concomitant conditions that co-exist with the personality disorder.
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