Interpersonal conflict is something most people experience at various times in their lives. For many people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), however, such conflict is a 'way of life'.

Interpersonal effectiveness skills teach a person with BPD how to be effective in getting what they want, how to say "no" to what they don't want, and how to deal with disagreements or conflicts.

Such skills can help those living with BPD to clarify and define their relationships and improve communication while decreasing the misunderstandings which often lead to emotional explosions.

Our ability to get on with other people is a vital component of any successful, fulfilling life. For people with BPD, relationships are the places in their lives where they expereince the most frustration, failure and shame. Because relationships are so important, it's logical that Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) would focus on teaching borderlines specific skills for how to improve their relationships.

If you know what you feel, and what you want and do not want, and are able to tell the difference. If you are able to understand and empathise with what others are feeling, saying, asking for, or needing in the moment. Are able to respond appropriately and communicate clearly, then you will be more skillful at negotiating your relationships.

Interpersonal effectiveness skills require the ability to process verbal information (language) and interpret nonverbal information (tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, body language), as well as awareness of what is actually happening in specific situations. If you distort what you hear, personalise neutral statements, are unable to control your emotional responses, cannot focus on the moment, and are easily distracted, it will be no surprise if your relationships become a personal minefield. Many people with BPD get to a stage where they just give up on interacting with other people altogether, avoiding them to the point of reclusiveness.

No relationship is without its disagreements. No marriage is perfect, and friends are not available all of the time. We all make mistakes, but borderlines often believe that they need to be perfect. To maintain relationships, at some time or other, everyone has to deal with conflict or discord, and we can all benefitfrom improving our relationship skills. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy provides structured skills that clarify what is reasonable to want or not want, while teaching how to respond effectively in various situations.

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy?