Language has power. The simple addition of a comma into a sentence can change language drastically. As professsionals we need to be cognesient of language as it often effects our actions. This is important with every mental health diagnosis but a recent conversation on twitter reminded me that language is especially powerful when it comes to the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder…
If you are a clinician that treats individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, I hope at least one of these tweets resonated with you or gave you some pause. They certainly did for me.The following tweets were taken from the most recent Suicide Prevention and Social Media Chat. The tweets and accompanying Vlog (seen below) feature Carl Dunn Jr, moderator of #BPDchat on Twitter; which provides support to those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and their families. The Vlog was focused on the development of this chat but also the power of language with Borderline Personality and how it effects treatment.
I have to confess, I have said a lot of negative things about persons with this diagnosis in the past. This discussion forced me to reflect on the language I used when describing and treating this diagnosis. I was “that crisis worker” that was annoyed and quick to label someone as “borderline” when they kept coming in and out of the ER. In my brief stint with working with adults not once did I educate a patient about their diagnosis of borderline personality. These words and actions had a negative effect on the individuals that were simply asking for help. They might not have been asking for help in MY way, but they were asking for help.
Clinicians need to think carefully about the langage that they use. If you are a therapist, psychiatrist, nurse, etc. that works with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, please watch the below Vlog. Learn about #BPDchat but most importantly pay attention to the language and assumptions you make of Borderline Personality Disorder. How does it effect your practice (both good and bad)? Do you agree with the things said? Please share your thoughts and if it had meaning to you please share with other clinicians. Thanks again #SPSM chat for an amazing thought provoking chat….