Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and inherited characteristics. A person’s personality typically stays the same over time. To be classified as a personality disorder, one’s way of thinking, feeling and behaving deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time. The pattern of experience and behavior usually begins by late adolescence or early adulthood and causes distress or problems in functioning. Without treatment, personality disorders can be long-lasting. Personality disorders affect at least two of these areas: a) way of thinking about oneself and others, b) way of responding emotionally, c) way of relating to other people and finally d) way of controlling one’s behavior.
Diagnosis of a personality disorder requires a mental health professional to evaluate long-term patterns of functioning and symptoms. Diagnosis is only applicable to individuals 18 or older. People under 18 are typically not diagnosed with personality disorders because their personalities are still developing. Some people with personality disorders may not recognize a problem. Also, a person may have more than one personality disorder.
Our team of highly skilled psychologists are trained to help you gain insight and knowledge about your disorder, what is contributing to symptoms, and get you to talk about thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Psychotherapy can help you understand the effects that your behavior may be having on others and learn to manage or cope with symptoms and to reduce behaviors causing problems with functioning and relationships. We are here to support you.