Personality disorder NHS services

Our dedicated clinical network of wards specialises in treating personality disorders, offering the highest quality service and treatment to improve the lives of those living with this condition.

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Priory provides comprehensive rehabilitation services for people with personality disorders and complex mental health needs. We align our offering with the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health (JCPMH), ensuring our patients are given the right care to enable quick and smooth transitions into local services wherever possible.

Within our rehabilitation and recovery (R&R) services, we have a dedicated clinical network of wards that specialise in treating personality disorders. Priory offers the highest quality service and treatment to help improve the lives of those living with this condition. Difficulties within social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning, are quite common with personality disorders, and Priory is here to help.

  • Highest quality of service and treatment for emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD)
  • Service for those most vulnerable – importance of safety and validation
  • Individualised care pathways in the least restrictive environments possible
  • Comprehensive dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) programmes, enabling lasting change
  • Comprehensive and expert multidisciplinary teams

Hear from patients and experts

Learn more about Priory's personality disorder service

Service approach

Our service includes:

  • Ending or reducing negative behaviours, including self-harm and suicidal actions
  • Increasing skills to ensure positive behaviours in the future
  • Ensuring progressive journeys back into the community, where appropriate
  • Focusing on meaningful and fulfilling life goals – a life worth living

We ensure a clear care pathway is provided for each individual patient, from admission to discharge. The pathway is dependent on identified needs and levels of provision required.

Led by an experienced multidisciplinary team, all personality disorder services provide the following treatment and facilities:

  • Group sessions and individual therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • DBT
  • Trauma therapy
  • Active health promotion initiatives
  • Comprehensive risk management
  • A model based on recovery principles
  • GP services

Our aim throughout treatment is to significantly improve the person's level of functioning, to cope independently, wherever possible, and to improve quality of life, particularly outside of the clinical environment. We also strive to:

  • Identify and manage risk situations/triggers
  • Support access to community services when required
  • Access age-appropriate leisure and social activities in the community
  • Encourage healthy relationships
  • Provide meaningful productive activity, for example, voluntary work, work placements or paid employment
  • Provide access to community services to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle
  • Help patients to move forward to a future they have planned and worked hard for, wherever possible

Emotionally unstable personality disorder

Most patients will be in treatment as inpatients for 12 to 24 months; the duration of treatment varies with each person’s particular needs.

People with EUPD have high rates of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and eating disorders, along with self-harm and suicidal behaviours. As many as 80% of people with EUPD have suicidal behaviours, and about 4% to 9% die by suicide, stressing the importance of gaining the correct help.

There is a range of different treatment approaches for EUPD, including DBT. There is research evidence to support the use of DBT as a treatment for EUPD and this is the treatment model used within Priory’s specialist personality disorder services.

Dialectical behaviour therapy

DBT is a comprehensive programme of care providing multiple treatment modalities that address the key skills and motivational deficits presented by patients with a diagnosis of EUPD. The programme has the following components:

  • Skills training (normally delivered within a group setting)
  • Individual DBT to help patients identify and solve problems while changing their behaviour
  • Ward settings designed to generalise new skills into the patient’s behavioural repertoire
  • Access to DBT skills coaching, either on the ward or via telephone consultation
  • Consultation meetings, where the therapists receive supervision and consultation on their clinical work

The DBT programme consists of the following three stages:

Pre-treatment – this is where the patient is orientated to the treatment, and is prepared to undertake the therapy

Stage 1 – this centres on stabilising the person, with a focus on decreasing para-suicidal behaviours and increasing behavioural skills

Stage 2 – commenced when the person is able to regulate their behaviour and keep themselves safe. This stage focuses on emotionally processing the past, which is particularly relevant for people with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) or a history of trauma

Referrals and admissions

We accept referrals UK-wide. Information received by a site upon referral will initially be reviewed by an appropriate clinician, who will ascertain if the patient is suitable for the service. They will then discuss the case with the wider team and identify suitable staff members to carry out an assessment, taking into consideration any specific needs of the person.

The assessing team will carry out a thorough assessment and discuss their findings with the multidisciplinary team which will determine if the service can meet the person's needs. We aim to carry out the assessment within 2 working days of receiving the referral. Once completed, a full assessment report, including costings, will be provided to the referrer.

Once an admission is agreed, the patient will be provided with information about the service and will be given the opportunity to ask any questions. The patient (along with their family and/or carers) is welcome to visit the service at any point on the referral journey. We understand that coming to a new service can be a stressful experience for some and therefore we encourage the use of familiarisation visits where appropriate.

We accept referrals from:

  • Provider trusts and local systems
  • NHS England specialised mental health case managers
  • Community mental health teams
  • Medium secure settings
  • Mental health acute/psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs)/secure inpatient
  • Prisons and courts
  • Social services and the police

Personality disorder services across the UK

Contact us for help, referrals or more information

For further information on Priory services offered to the NHS, or to make a referral, please call our dedicated 24/7 customer service centre.

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Make a referral