Art Therapy for BPD


 Art Therapy is found to be one of the most helpful treatments for BPD. People with BPD may find art therapy usefulbecause of its ability to directly address affect regulation on a neurological level, as well as its potential to unearth deep-seated memories and beliefs. 

At the core of Borderline Personality Disorder is the inability to, or difficulties in, regulating emotions.  When it comes to affect regulation, Art Therapy is able to work on a level that talking therapy sometimes does not reach.

Art Therapy uses image and symbols as its primary mode of communication.  It offers another way of bypassing the cognitive process and working directly with the neurological and somatic system.

Creating art enables communication between the left and right hemispheres. As even the simplest drawing depends on a complex interaction between many brain systems, art therapy offers the possibility to deal with basic sensory building blocks in the processing of information and emotions.   Whilst the creative process addresses the right hemisphere of the brain, the verbal articulation of the image and what it represents facilitates links to the language and long-term memory on the left side of the brain. This process of integrating both brain pathways provides a mechanism for stress reduction and affect regulation. 

In addition, art therapy differs from other psychological therapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the arts. The art product is known as the ‘container for emotions’. It offers a mean of expression that is cathartic and less damaging to the therapeutic relationship than acting out verbally or physically, clients are therefore able to show aspects of themselves that would otherwise have remained hidden.

Moreover, art allows a temporal flexibility for continued exploration, reflection and comparison over a period of time, where words can be easily forgotten and denied.  When an art product is created, the permanence of it offers a unique area of involvement. You can continuously look at the image, be intrigued by it, and eventually be challenged to explore their meanings.

Perhaps most relevant to people with BPD is how art expression can help people integrate and synthesize conflicting feelings and experiences. Individuals with difficulties regulating emotions may experience contrasting emotions in quick succession, and thus struggle to articulate what exactly it is that they were experiencing.  However, as art expression surpasses rules of language, such as syntax, grammar, and logic, a myriad of thoughts and feelings may be contained on one page. This capacity for art to contain paradoxical elements can help clients integrate and synthesize conflicting internal states.

Through the techniques used in art therapy, you will be able to address many of the symptoms of BPD and other underlying issues.Working with your art therapist, your art can express your relationships with others and the emotions you deal with on a daily basis.