Dramatherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder : Empowering and Nurturing people through Creativity book cover
1st Edition

Dramatherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder
Empowering and Nurturing people through Creativity

ISBN 9781138285910
Published May 17, 2018 by Routledge
174 Pages

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Book Description

Dramatherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder: Empowering and Nurturing People Through Creativity demonstrates how dramatherapy can empower those individuals struggling to live with borderline personality disorder, and help them embrace and control the emotional inner chaos they experience.


Based on current research into the aetiology, symptoms and co-morbid disorders associated with BPD (and emotionally unstable personality disorder), this book demonstrates the effectiveness of dramatherapy for individuals and groups on specialist personality disorder wards and in mixed diagnosis rehabilitation units. It also reveals a creative approach for making dramatherapy work in harmony with approaches such as dialectical behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.


Aimed at those working with service users, and utilising a range of case studies and clinical vignettes, Dramatherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder provides an insight into the potential of dramatherapy, which will be welcomed by mental health professionals.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Dramatherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder:

Empowering and Nurturing people through Creativity

(Author – Nicky Morris)


Dramatherapy: Approaches, Relationships, Critical ideas

(Series Editor - Anna Seymour)


  • Title
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • Foreword - Kate McCormack


Part One: Definitions, History, Theory and Treatment Options

Chapter 1: Introduction


  • Battling Stigma
  • Personal Motivation
  • Summary of Chapters
  • References


Chapter 2: BPD: A Complex and Emotional Mental Health Disorder


  • BPD Historic Overview
  • Current Statistics
  • Aetiology
  • Diagnosis:

BPD in the DSM V

EUPD in the ICD.10

Structured Clinical Interviews

Diagnosis in Adolescence

  • Comorbidity
  • Conclusion
  • References


Chapter 3: Psychological Treatments for BPD

  • Introduction

Treatment Pathway

Treating Comorbidity

  • Therapeutic Interventions:

DBT - Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

MBT - Mentalisation Based Therapy

Therapeutic communities

Arts Therapies:


Art Therapy

Music therapy

Dance Movement Therapy

CBT - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

CAT - Cognitive Analytical Therapy

ST - Schema Therapy

TFP - Transference Focused Therapy

IGP – Interpersonal Group Psychotherapy

OT - Occupational Therapy:

OT for BPD, by Georgia Ntzimani

  • Multidisciplinary Communication
  • Final Reflections
  • References


Chapter 4: Embrace and Contain the Chaos: Dramatherapy for BPD


  • Dramatherapy: History and Definition

Ancient Roots

Theatre meets Therapy

Dramatherapy in the Twentieth Century

Defining Dramatherapy in the Twenty First Century

  • Dramatherapy for BPD

Thirteen Dramatherapists share their experience

Dramatherapy for Insecure Attachment and Trauma

Reclaiming Femininity through Ritual and Myth

Dramatherapy for Men with BPD

Evaluation and Evidence

  • An Overview

Part Two: Dramatherapy Clinical Case Studies and Vignettes

Chapter 5

Breaking Inner Chains:

Dramatherapy on a Secure Ward for Women with BPD


  • Dramatherapy for Women with BPD
  • Five Recurring Themes:



To be seen and heard as a human being, rather than a diagnosis

Bringing all parts of oneself – including the shadow – into the light

A new way to look at familiar emotions or issues

  • Six Key Interventions:

Releasing tension and repressed emotion via simple, effective methods

Symbolic Tools and Projective Methods

Ritual, Story and Myth

Sensory work


Poetry, Song and Creative Writing

  • A Detailed Case Study illustrating the Six Interventions:

Initial steps into Dramatherapy

1:1 Trauma-Focused Dramatherapy

Jean’s Dramatherapy journey in relation to Schema Therapy

  • Perspectives from the Multi-Disciplinary Team on Dramatherapy
  • The Client’s Voice
  • References


Chapter 6

A Cry for Freedom:

Dramatherapy with Women in a Secure Step-Down Unit


  • A Mixed Diagnosis Dramatherapy Group

Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

A Mother’s Heartache

A Service User with BPD

  • Dramatherapy Group Interventions

An Imaginary Train Journey

A Model Animal Community

  • Therapeutic Performance

Singing Swans

Self-Revelatory Performance

  • Colleagues Reflect on Dramatherapy
  • References


Chapter 7: Dancing Between Life and Death


  • Dramatherapy and Grief

Losing a Brother

A Father’s Suicide

  • Self-harm, Suicide and Lost Souls





  • Emotional Impact on Staff

Suicide and Self-Harm

Emotional Projections and Ambivalence

Dr Preeti Gour reflects on Suicide

The Role of Clinical Supervision

  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 8: Hope, Courage and Creativity


  • Belief and Hope
  • Courage and Meaning
  • Survivors
  • References


  • Abbreviations
  • Index

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Nicky Morris is an HCPC registered dramatherapist and BADth member, who has worked in NHS and private mental health services for thirteen years, predominantly with women diagnosed with BPD.


This enriching practice based book focuses on a complex client group, who often struggle to obtain adequate treatment. The descriptions of the work are detailed, humane and knowledgeable, drawing on a range of dramatherapist experiences, whilst including the wider multidisciplinary team of professionals through feedback. Client stories are illustrated with poems, images, as well as directly elicited feedback. The diagnosis and treatment chapters offer nuanced information and changes over time about how clients are perceived, whilst recognizing the continuous effect of stigma. The dramatherapy sessions are described in clear detail in a variety of settings, so that the individuality of the clients shines through. It will be useful to see this book complemented by other arts therapies’ volumes. The current inclusion of music, art and movement within dramatherapy elicits questions about collaborative or medium specific interventions across the arts therapies; enabling further development of theory and research around the role of creativity in the treatment of BPD.

Ditty Dokter PhD, UKCP registered groupanalytic psychotherapist and ADMPUK registered dance movement psychotherapist.

This book brings alive the joys and pain of living and working with individuals suffering the impact of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder on their lives. Nicky Morris, through her skilled use of the techniques of Dramatherapy, is seen to be present, alongside patients and staff, in an emotionally available way to facilitate helpful changes to the lives of this ‘difficult to work with’ client group. She brings warmth, humanity, compassion and caring to all her working relationships, and to her writing. This book will be of significant help to both patients and professionals striving to work together towards ‘a life worth living’.

Kevin Healy, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director Cygnet Healthcare Ealing and Kenton

This is a hopeful and refreshing book. It is honest and does not shy away from the complexity of client material, illustrating effectively how dramatherapy can change shape, pace and colour to enhance and develop the therapeutic process. Nicky Morris engages the reader through a skilled and compassionate lens. The book offers a solid account of the developments in BPD treatment and diagnosis and through highlighting the stigma BPD attracts goes some way to lessening it. The individual voice of the client jumps out of the page offering a rare insight from inside the therapy space.

Dr Alyson Coleman, Chair of British Association of Dramatherapists