ISTSS Online Learning Library

Promoting the advancement and exchange of knowledge about traumatic stress is a core mission of ISTSS. Our online learning library contains video and audio recordings of conference presentations and recordings of past webinars.

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Treating PTSD in Suicidal and Self-Injuring Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder

Melanie Harned, PhD
Recorded on June 12, 2013

WebinarAudio with synched slides

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and PTSD are commonly co-occurring disorders, with comorbidity rates as high as 50 percent. However, few approaches exist for treating PTSD among individuals with BPD, particularly those with recent suicidal and self-injurious behavior. PTSD treatments typically exclude acutely suicidal and self-injuring clients, whereas BPD treatments do not typically target PTSD. This webinar will describe the basic structure and procedures of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure protocol, which has been developed specifically to treat PTSD in this high-risk client population. This protocol can be added to standard Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to allow for integrated treatment of BPD, PTSD and life-threatening behavior. In addition, clinical challenges encountered during the development of this protocol. Initial research findings supporting the safety and effectiveness of this treatment will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the basic structure and procedures of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure (DBT PE) protocol.

  • Identify challenges encountered and solutions applied during the development of the DBT PE protocol.

  • Acknowledge findings of research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the DBT PE Protocol.


About the Instructor

Melanie S. Harned, PhD, is the Director of Research at the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington, and the Director of Research at Behavioral Tech Research, Inc. Dr. Harned has developed and evaluated the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure protocol for suicidal and self-injuring individuals with borderline personality disorder and PTSD. She is an expert in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the application of exposure-based treatments to high-risk PTSD clients.