Select Page
No Image Available

Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change

 MSRP: $24.95  Format: Paperback  Author: Valerie Porr  Category: Adults (18-64), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Families, Personality Disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder / Narcissism / etc.)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  Published: 2010  ISBN: 0195379586  ISBN-13: 978-0195379587  Book Site

“Valerie Porr has championed the cause of people with borderline personality disorder for decades. Her understanding of the disorder and its effects on the individuals themselves and their families, partners, and friends is outstanding. This readable and informative book distils her years of experience and her first hand knowledge of how to help patients and families, providing the practical wisdom that comes only with a genuine understanding of what it is to be `borderline`. This is required reading for anyone, from novice to expert, who seeks an understanding of borderline personality disorder and who wants practical guidance on what helps.”
–Anthony Bateman, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Barnet, Enfield, and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and Visiting Professor University College, London

“Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder by Valerie Porr is like water for a parched land. Few psychiatric disorders are as misunderstood as borderline personality disorder, a condition that can be profoundly disabling to patients and devastating to families. Opinions about what families should do are plentiful, but evidence-based guidance, derived from solid research, is rare. This is what this book delivers. It is an invaluable roadmap for families of patients with BPD.”
–John Oldham, Chief of Staff, The Menninger Clinic

“An important book for family members of people with BPD.”
–Larry Siever, Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

“She ably explains neuroscience as it applies here and emphasizes understanding, validation, and acceptance (not unconditional love)… An outstanding model of the psychoeducational approach, this volume bridges a daunting gap between laity and psychotherapists. Highly recommended for professionals as well as families of these patients.” –Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

If you are reading this book, chances are that you, like Valerie, come to this moment and these pages not by choice. You come desperate, having already traveled a long and arduous road as you sought answers, explanation, and the possibility of real help for your loved one with borderline personality disorder (BPD). You seek an understanding that is only possible among those who have stood in your shoes, who need no words to truly get the horrors you have faced, the fear as you consider the future, the profound sadness and grief, and the yearnings of your heart. You come hoping against hope that perhaps you will find the way out of the hell you and your loved one have endured.

However you got here, whatever your own path has been, you have arrived well. You can take comfort in knowing that your guide, Valerie Porr, has devoted decades of her life scaling the mountain tops far and wide, also searching for answers and explanations about BPD, and for a way out, for those she loves and for those she may never meet. She has applied her brilliant and creative mind, her seemingly endless and bountiful energy, and a determined passion to the pursuit of gathering, piecing together, distilling, and disseminating all that is known scientifically about BPD. This book, a compilation of all she has learned and now teaches to those in her family classes, is a labor of love if there ever was one. Valerie has read scientific journals copiously, often making connections unseen by researchers themselves until hearing her astute observations. She and her members attend scientific conferences throughout the world on an annual basis (American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders, to name a few). She engages deeply in these meetings, fearlessly asking hard questions, and reminding the scientific community that our research “subjects” are her and her members’ sons, daughters, wives, and husbands. You can expect to find Valerie seated near the front, with camera in hand, taking digital images of the presenter’s slides so she can immediately incorporate what she has learned in her next class or workshop. There is no time to wait. People are dying and lives are being destroyed by the disorder of BPD.

I originally met Valerie shortly after she formed TARA, her non-profit organization that seeks to assist and support loved ones of those afflicted with BPD. She had applied to attend a 10-day Intensive Training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a scientifically-proven treatment for BPD developed by Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D. at the University of Washington. Her application sparked a number of interesting and important conversations for our training organization about the role of families in “treating” individuals with BPD. DBT, like those it seeks to treat, is difficult to learn, even for well-trained mental health professionals. DBT is a comprehensive treatment built on multiple theories, containing numerous principles, strategies, procedures, and skills. Linehan’s primary treatment manual (Linehan, M.M., Cognitive and Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, New York: Guilford Press, 1993) is thick, tedious, and technical. How could family members with no training in mental health treatments be expected to learn DBT, let alone use it well? Furthermore, was it even ethical for them to do so? Over time, I discovered how naïve and wrong I was. I learned that in fact the most ethical and effective approach to treatment is, when possible, to actively engage families who seek to help in the treatment. Indeed, few others will go the distance as will family members of those with BPD.

The contents of this book have their roots in that DBT intensive. Valerie’s team returned to the second part of the DBT Intensive Training having established TARA’s first DBT psychoeducational program f

About the Author(s)

Valerie Porr

Valerie Porr, M.A., is a mental health educator and advocate trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and the founder and president of the Treatment and Research Advancements National Association for Personality Disorder (TARA NAPD). She conducts psycho-educational training seminars for family...

Read More


My Account Info

Manage your Membership information, email preferences, and more.


Membership in ABCT grants you access to three journals.


Convention Registration is now open for the 2023 ABCT Convention in Seattle, WA.