Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a developmental disorder of the self. It is characterised by extreme emotional reactions, impulsivity, difficulty of properly engaging in relationships and diminished sense of self. Individuals with borderline personality disorder have difficulties with their sense of self, their self-esteem and self-worth. Relationships are a measure of gaining their sense of self and that is why they put great importance onto others, which is why they may often come across as overly pleasing sometimes.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a developmental disorder that needs to be differentiated from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is important to know that obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) resembles OCD much less than the name suggests if we take a look at the DSM criteria—in the way that OCPD is not characterised neither by obsessions nor by compulsions. However, looking at OCPD as a point on neurotic spectrum leading to OCD might be a better way to look at it—also when facing with OCPD or OCD in therapy.
Narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder seem to be quite latent personality presentations—they are not commonly presented in therapy as the core presenting problem that a client will present when they come in for treatment. Often times, hence, narcissistic personality disorder is undiagnosed, which goes even more so for narcissism in general.
Panic attacks and panic disorder are usually associated with anxiety. However, a panic attack should not be mixed with anxiety, even though they will most often present themselves together.
Bipolar disorder and bipolar personality structure, also known as manic depression and manic-depressive structure, are something we are more likely to encounter in therapy than appears to be the case at first glance. Bipolar is predominantly characterised by swings in mood—from manic to depressive. However, contrary to common belief, neither the intensity of swings nor their frequency are deterministic of bipolar.
Depression is one of the most common phenomenon encountered in psychotherapy and counselling. When we talk about depression it is crucial that we differentiate it from low mood, grief or sadness. In the case of depression, the individual will not only see the world as empty and hopeless, but will see themselves as the source of worthlessness, despair, pointlessness. Depression hence needs appropriate attention in therapy—one that differs from regular mourning or feeling low.
Part of the misconception and confusion of what anxiety really is also comes from the general everyday use of the term. It is often used to define a spectrum of feelings and moods, ranging from feeling scared, anxious before an important event or feeling nervous and agitated. When speaking about anxiety symptoms in psychotherapy and counselling, the term tends to be more narrowly defined.
Burnout is a term that is used often in relation to feelings of physical fatigue due to work, work-related issues and stress. Socially the term is used to describe a person that is chronically overworked and potentially not getting enough sleep and time away from professional life. Often times burnout is also misinterpreted as anxiety or depression.