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How can physicians manage patients with personality disorders? Advice from a psychologist in Northville, MI
November 3, 2020 at 8:00 AM
How can physicians manage patients with personality disorders? Advice from a psychologist in Northville, MI

As a psychologist in Northville, MI, I consult with many physicians who are having trouble managing their patients with personality disorders. The presence of a personality disorder can create major challenges for both the patient and their healthcare provider.

In this article, I’m sharing how psychologists can help physicians deliver better healthcare services to those with personality disorders, and what to be aware of when treating these patients.

Improving non-compliance

Non-compliance is a major obstacle for patients with personality disorders. It’s common for these patients to suffer from delusions and “black and white” thinking, wherein they believe that all healthcare providers want to harm them. This is a major detriment to the doctor-patient relationship, and it can cause obstacles for treatment compliance.

Physicians who are having trouble getting their patients to comply with treatment can consult with a psychologist for help. As a consultant psychologist in Northville, MI, I’ve assisted with many cases involving non-compliant patients. These patients often benefit from psychotherapy.

During our one-on-one sessions, I help patients gain greater self-awareness, and I show them how their thinking and behaviors are irrational. There are various techniques for this, including role-playing, mirroring, and arguing all sides of a difficult situation. I find that these and similar exercises help patients understand that their healthcare providers are there to help them, not harm them.

Helping physicians set boundaries

Patients with personality disorders are among the most difficult to treat, because they are experts at pushing boundaries. They can be highly manipulative and may threaten self-harm or display violent behavior. One of the most important methods for successfully treating these patients is setting firm boundaries.

As a consultant, I frequently help physicians and other healthcare providers learn how to set boundaries at the outset. It’s important to set clear expectations and follow through with them. Many physicians falter as soon as the patient threatens self-harm.

While your patient’s well-being is obviously a priority, it’s important to be clear about the consequences that they may face and stand firm in your boundaries. I encourage physicians to praise good behavior and show compassion, but follow through with appropriate consequences for negative or manipulative behavior. This can also help patients take accountability for their actions.

Ongoing medication and therapy for patients

It’s often the case that the patient will need ongoing psychotherapy and medication in conjunction with their regular healthcare services. Not only does this help patients make the most of the healthcare services available to them, but it can help physicians adjust their approach to maintain patient compliance. This is why I aim to forge collaborative relationships with physicians whenever I consult on a case involving a difficult patient.

By keeping a psychologist involved in the patient’s medical care, adjustments can be made in terms of therapy and medication on an ongoing basis. This multidisciplinary approach helps achieve successful outcomes for both patients and their healthcare providers.

Consult with a psychologist in Northville, MI

If you are a physician who needs assistance treating a patient with a personality disorder, I can help. As an expert in personality pathology, I can provide instruction in diagnosis and treatment, as well as other consultation services for difficult patients. I also offer psychotherapy for patients with personality disorders and similar mental health pathologies.

Contact my office today to consult with a trusted psychologist in Northville, MI.