Health Magazine

The BPD Bookshelf

By Lisaannjarrett @bpdblog

Since being diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) about 8 years ago, me and my loved ones have spent time reading many a book about the subject at hand as well as other relating matters, such at DBT thearpy (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). Some of these books were suggested readings given to us by counselors and psychs while others were discovered by searching the shelves of Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon (aka- largest independent new and used bookstore in the world).

Recently, I have suggested a few books to friends and fellow Tweeters. Appreciative, they have encouraged me to share some of these titles on my blog so others can benefit. What a fantastic idea!

So, here are a few titles that I have read and feel that there is a definite benefit to spending the time flipping through each respected book’s pages. They don’t deal with BPD directly, but they do deal with related issues and such.


The BPD Bookshelf
Top on my list of must-reads is The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by McKay, Wood, and Brantley. I cannot count how many times I have recommended this book to others– but it’s a lot, trust me! I personally own two copies of this book: my original copy is somewhere in Western Washington state (where I live) and I just bought a new copy off of Amazon recently as I am currently visiting family in Chicago and I don’t have the book on me.

DBT therapy is probably the most effective treatment for people with BPD, but many are unable to physically go to DBT sessions. Considering that DBT is usually a 1-2x/week commitment, some are unable to attend because of other commitments, for example. I know for myself, money has been a main factor that has kept me from going to DBT sessions previously (Note: I DO have insurance in the state of Washington, BUT it only covers 12 therapy sessions a year) and for others who don’t even have insurance in the first place, it’s their small bank accounts that restricts them from getting involved in a DBT group or individual DBT therapy.

For these people who need DBT but are not able to attend classes for whatever reason, I HIGHLY suggest this book. Through various types of activities, the reader is able to gain DBT-related skills and get more control over their lives. The writing itself is easy to understand, the activities are not super complicated, and I would definitely say that this workbook is a must for those who suffer from BPD, as well as people who have other types of inflictions.


The BPD Bookshelf

My second pick for suggested books for those with BPD is The Buddha In Your Mirror by Hochswender, Martin, and Morino. This is an EXCELLENT book that helps one find inner peace, and it’s so good that I’m currently reading it for the second time.

The Buddha In Your Mirror is not a book about nor written for sufferers of BPD, but there’s a good chunk of material that someone with Borderline can truly benefit from. It’s also not a freaky, “hippie” book like some people must think as it is about Buddhism. Yeah, there’s a lot of talk about chanting in it, but Hochswender, Martin, and Morino also talk about obtaining true happiness and resolving inner conflict, which are two issues that many individuals with BPD struggle with.

As I am reading this right now, one thing that this book has helped me with is dealing with anger. I’m the type of person that, once I get angry, I don’t just get upset, but I also have the strong desire to “get even”. Basically, what I am trying to say is that this book has recently reminded me not just to “chill the fuck out”, but it has also reminded me why letting the anger go is important in order to be happy.


The BPD Bookshelf
Finally, there is The High-Conflict Couple by Fruzzetti. Obviously written for couples who have significant emotional issues in their relationship (probably because of mental illness), this book combines DBT therapy with couples therapy and is something I personally “worked” through a few years ago.

Until last year, I was in a long-term relationship with an individual who is bipolar. Oh yeah… we DEFINITELY had our moments, but there was also a lot about this relationship that was positive and generally good. Before getting engaged, my partner and I found this book at the local library, and we picked it up. Wise choice, most definitely.

I’ll admit… we never finished the book. We’re procrastinations. I DID actually work through over 1/3 of it and read the rest, and even that helped us a great deal. It helped me notice things about my behavior that I never realized were an issue to begin with. Everything from the tone of my voice in conversation with my former partner to the thoughts in my head I wished to verbalize… I re-analyzed it all. Also, this book helped open up certain lines of communication between me and the ex that were previously shut. I DEFINITELY recommend this book!


Having ANY type of mental illness can negatively affect your life and the life of those around you… but it doesn’t have to. I’m not saying that these three books are the “miracle cure” or anything like that, but they might be helpful. Check out your local library and see if one of these titles could help you.

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