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Welcome to the home page for the Balance Programme, a dialectical behaviour therapy programme for Auckland DHB clients with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. This is where you can find information about the Balance Programme and resources about borderline personality disorder.

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What is The Balance Programme?
The Balance Programme is an intensive community-based treatment programme for clients with a primary diagnosis for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Balance provides Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) – an empirically tested treatment for clients wit the diagnosis of BPD. Each of the four Community Mental Health Centres has their own Balance Team which specialise in providing DBT to clients within their communities.

Balance is committed to helping BPD clients build a life worth living. That can be a lot of work and that’s why we have an intensive treatment programme.

Read more about Balance and DBT by downloading the following brochures:
About the Balance Programme Brochure (Similar to this page) (PDF)
More about DBT and the Balance Programme Brochure (PDF)

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is a clinical term used in to describe the condition where people have intense overwhelming emotions, intense and difficult relationships, fear of abandonment, intense anger, impulsive and/or self-harming and/or suicidal thoughts/behaviour, identity issues and sometimes transient dissociative or psychotic states. Most people have some of these things some of the time. People who qualify for the BPD diagnosis have many of these problems across much of their lives.

Some people think the term “borderline personality disorder” is odd, unhelpful or disrespectful. Other terms have been put forward (such as complex PTSD) to describe the same problems. For the time being we have kept the term BPD as it is the official diagnosis. And the terminology is less important than finding effective treatment.

Read more about BPD and its treatments:

What is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)?
DBT is an empirically tested treatment for BPD that has been chosen by Auckland DHB Mental Health Services as the preferred way of treating BPD. Most Balance staff have completed intensive training in DBT. 

Many people with the diagnosis of BPD feel that life is not worth living. The goal of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is about building a life worth living. 

In DBT, BPD is viewed as a consequence of a biologically-based tendency towards intense emotions combined with strongly invalidating experiences in life, often when young. Neglect and abuse are examples of invalidation that can contribute to this condition. 

DBT combines behaviour therapy with mindfulness practices within a dialectical world view. A dialectical view is one that tries to “hold” tensions that exist in our lives. It is the opposite of “black and white” thinking. Behavioural therapy is about learning skills and solving problems. Balance groups teach skills to tolerate distress, regulate emotions, become more effective in our relationships and to be mindful. Mindfulness practices draw from eastern and western contemplative practices that teach us how to control our attention to be more effective in our lives.

The Balance Programme involves individual therapy for one hour each week and skills groups for 2 ½ hours each week. It also involves “homework” to practice the skills and become more familiar with them. The first stage of DBT is mostly about stabilising your life. This usually lasts for 12 months in which you complete the 22-week skills group twice. The second stage of programme looks more at the underlying or trauma issues that may continue to affect your life.

Read more about DBT

How do I join the Balance Programme?
To join Balance you must be:

  • A current client of the one of the Auckland DHB Mental Health Services Community Mental Health Centres (CMHC). That means you must reside within the ADHB area. The clinics are listed here
  • Have a primary diagnosis of borderline personality disorder as agreed with your CMHC team;
  • Have a CMHC keyworker;
  • Have the challenging kind of problems that Balance is best at helping with;
  • Be prepared to sign up for intensive treatment for at least one year.
  • Not be in other therapy while in Balance.

If you live within the Auckland DHB area but are not an Auckland DHB CMHC client you will need a referral to our CMHC services from your GP. If you are already a CMHC client (with a BPD diagnosis) then talk about Balance with your keyworker.

Supporting Families
Families are important too! The Balance Programme has formed a partnership with the Auckland Branch of the "Supporting Families" organisation to provide supportive and educational groups for the families of clients who have the diagnosis of BPD. Click through to the Supporting Families Auckland website to find out about the groups on offer.



 

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Last updated: 11/11/2005