Gunderson Residence

Helping women with personality disorders build rewarding lives


Treatment Approach

The Gunderson Residence utilizes a range of evidence-based treatment and therapy models informed by cutting-edge research. We provide tools and guidance to foster the self-reliance residents need to build a more balanced, productive, and meaningful life.

Our multidisciplinary team of clinicians are experts in borderline personality disorder (BPD). They use a range of treatment methods, allowing care to be customized to the needs of the individual based on the type and severity of her specific symptoms. Upon admission, each resident receives a diagnostic assessment and completes an array of objective measures administered by our clinical team. We use these assessments to establish a care plan that incorporates the best therapies and strategies for addressing symptoms, identifying challenges, and setting goals.

Tailored treatment provides individuals with the structure needed for change and sets residents on a path towards recovery. With an emphasis on self-motivation, treatment plans regularly include a combination of individual and group therapies, a variety of behavioral therapies, and medications that help patients manage their symptoms and transition back to their daily lives.

Expert care is provided by clinicians who are devoted to improving the quality of life of residents and their families. Treatment includes expert evaluation, individual, group and family therapy, ongoing treatment reviews provided to women and their families, medication consultations, expressive therapy, vocational and educational counseling for transitional support, and coordination of care with referring clinicians and aftercare providers.

John G. Gunderson, MD
Watch McLean experts speak regarding BPD treatment

Our individual and group therapy model prioritizes treatment approaches such as:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which emphasizes the development of four skill sets: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.
  • Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) focuses on helping people to differentiate and separate their own thoughts and feelings from those around them.
  • General psychiatric management (GPM), which includes education for patients and their families and case management, was developed by John G. Gunderson, MD, a pioneer in BPD research and care, for whom this program is named.

Group therapy also incorporate activities such as mindfulness, community cooking, fitness, and community outings, and our expert clinicians cover a broach range of topics including interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, skills generalization, emotion regulation, and family issues.

We encourage residents to become involved with the larger community through part-time work, volunteer opportunities, and classes at local colleges and universities.

Family and friends are often incorporated into treatment. A family member, most commonly a parent and/or partner, is asked to work with a family therapist. Family and friends are a valuable tool in a patient’s recovery and long-term success, providing reinforcement for positive change and meeting treatment goals.

Support and education for patients, families, and friends is also integral to treatment success. In addition to patient education, the Gunderson Residence offers weekly private webinars for family members targeted to the specific needs of supporting a loved one with BPD. McLean’s Borderline Personality Disorder Patient and Family Education Initiative also provides interactive and on-demand resources such as educational webinars to support individuals and families affected by BPD.