Women's Personality Disorder

St Andrew’s Spring Hill House is a specialist comprehensive dialectical behaviour (DBT) unit, specifically for the treatment of women over the age of 18 with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD),complex mental health needs, and challenging behaviour.

Building on the DBT programme that opened in 1996, Spring Hill House opened in 2006.

With trained DBT therapists, a British Isle DBT trainer and one of the first Society for DBT accredited therapists, Spring Hill House has established expertise in treating BPD. The DBT programme is unique in that it is delivered through a complete risk managed pathway of care, creating a sense of momentum and motivation for patients.

Admission criteria

Women over the age of 18 who have:

  • severe emotional and behavioural difficulties but with a primary diagnosis of borderline personality disorder
  • problem behaviours that are likely to include: self- harm, suicidal behaviour, violence towards others, problems in interpersonal relationships, substance misuse, self- neglect, fire setting and non-compliance with prescribed medication
  • treatment resistance
  • been detained under either civil or criminal provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007)
  • a high risk to themselves or others.

Treatment and care

Our comprehensive DBT programme started in 1999 and is well established. It was one of the first DBT programmes to be used in an inpatient setting in the UK.

DBT is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) designed for individuals with complex needs. It integrates strategies from CBT with strategies of accepting reality as it is ‘in the moment’ (mindfulness).

Our treatment programme includes all five functions of a comprehensive DBT programme:
• enhancing capabilities - twice weekly skills training groups
• enhancing motivation - weekly individual therapy sessions
• ensuring generalisation - skills coaching
• structuring the environment - homework groups community meetings and staff training
• DBT consultation - (with peer group supervision) for the DBT therapists delivering treatment.

Spring HIll House benefits from being embedded within the local community of Northampton, and is close enough to utilise all the facilities that the Northampton main site has to offer.

Next steps

Discharge is considered from admission and our clinical and social work teams work with appropriate case managers to support safe and successful transition.

At the point of discharge, patients at Spring Hill House will have successfully gained skills through the structured DBT programme. This enables them to address the cycle of behaviours and suffering associated with BPD in order to make a successful transition back into the community.

Skills would have been tested throughout the patient stay at the various levels of risk, including a pre-discharge step in hostel-like accommodation on site.

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