Dean, Rebecca, Sara Siddiqui, Frank Beesley, John Fox, & Katherine Berry (in press). Staff perceptions of borderline personality disorder and recovery: A Q-sort method approach. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. (ePub in advance of print).

Abstract: Objectives. This study was the first to explore how staff that work with people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) perceive recovery in this client group. These views are important because of the crucial role that staff play in the care of people with BPD, and the challenges that staff experience with these clients. Design. A Q methodology design was used, containing 58 statements about recovery. Methods. Twenty-nine mental health staff sorted recovery statements according to perceived importance to recovery in BPD. Results. There were two different viewpoints about recovery in BPD. A medically oriented group viewed coping with symptoms and behaviours specific to BPD as being most important to recovery, whereas participants who were more well-being oriented viewed achieving overall well-being that was universally valued regardless of diagnosis as more important. Both groups reported that engaging in socially valued activities such as work and education was not an important aspect of recovery and that people with BPD could be considered to have recovered despite continued impairments in everyday functioning. Conclusions. Staff perceptions of recovery in BPD can differ, which poses risks for consistent team working, a particularly important issue in this client group due to the relational difficulties associated with the diagnosis. Multidisciplinary teams working with people diagnosed with BPD therefore need to find a forum to promote a shared understanding of each patient’s needs and support plans. We advocate that team formulation is a promising approach to achieve more consistent ways of working within teams.

Rebecca Dean <> is in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

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