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Personality Disorders & Counselling Support

Personality Disorders & Counselling Support, this blog looks at some of the key questions you might have about Personality Disorders and how Paul Carter Counselling could help you.

What is our Personality?

Our personality is a collection of characteristics and traits that we have developed as we grow up that make us who we are as an individual. These traits include how we think, feel, and behave. By our 20s our personality has developed and more or less stays with us for the rest of our lives. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists a study in 2006 stated that in the UK about 1 in 20 people have a personality disorder.

What is a Personality Disorder?

For some people parts of their personality develop in a way that makes it difficult for them to live with themselves or other people. For some people they find it hard to change those traits that cause problems. Difficult traits might include: making or keeping close relationships, getting on with people, at work, with family or friends. Getting into trouble. Being able to control feelings or behaviour or being able to listen to other people. For some people they may become unhappy or distressed and or often upset or harm other people or themselves.

Are there different types of Personality Disorder?

Currently psychiatrists have identified ten different kinds of personality disorder.

They are grouped into three main types.


  • Paranoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Emotional or Impulsive

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder


  • Avoidant Personality Disorder
  • Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

The Mental Health Charity Mind has a comprehensive explanation of each of the types of personality disorder explaining how someone might feel.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has made a short video on Personality Disorders that might be helpful.

How do you get diagnosed with a Personality Disorder?

Each Personality Disorder has its own set of diagnostic criteria. Someone would need to meet some of those criteria to get a diagnosis. A counsellor or psychotherapist cannot diagnose a person with a personality disorder. In order to get a diagnosis you would need to speak to a Psychiatrist, the first step you could take would be to speak to your GP.

What causes a Personality Disorder?

There can be various causes of a personality disorders.

  • Upbringing- sometimes people who have a personality disorder have experienced sexual or physical abuse in childhood.
  • Early problems – such as severe aggression, disobedience and repeated temper tantrums
  • Brain problems – some people with antisocial personality disorder have slight differences in their brain structure or brain chemicals.
  • Triggers – such as using a lot of drugs or alcohol, relationship problems, money problems, stressful situations and loss.

How can a Personality Disorder be treated?

How can I support myself if I have a personality disorder?

My friend or family member has a Personality Disorder how can I help?

If a friend or family member has a personality disorder it might be difficult for you to always have a good relationship with them. Ways in which you can help are:

  • Try and be patient
  • Talk to them in a compassionate and calm way
  • Don’t judge them
  • Remind them of other aspects of their personality
  • Set clear boundaries and expectations so that you know what to expect from each other.
  • Learn their triggers
  • Learn more about personality disorders
  • If you are worried that someone is planning to self harm or they are suicidal, ask them what might be helpful and plan ahead.
  • Support them to find treatment
  • Get support for yourself. It can be very difficult supporting a loved one who has a personality disorder. Ensuring that you are supported is incredibly important.

If you have a personaility disorder, or suspect that you do, or if you are concerned about a friend of family member that does it can sometimes be useful to talk to a professional about how you are feeling and what you are going through.

I specialise in working with people who have Personality Disorders, if you want to talk to someone in confidence please Call me on 07843 813537. Please leave a message if I can’t answer your call and I’ll call you back as soon as possible. If you have any other questions or enquiries please call or send me a message by completing the online enquiry form. Due to COVID I am currently working exclusively online or on the telephone.

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