McLean Gunderson

Helping women with personality disorders build rewarding lives

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McLean Gunderson FAQ

What is the phone number for referrals?

Please call 888.657.5699 to make a referral. 

What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a longstanding pattern of impulsive and self-destructive behavior, emotional dysregulation, problematic interpersonal relationships, intense fear of abandonment, and identity disturbance. These difficulties emerge from a combination of temperamental vulnerability and an invalidating environment.

What is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP, as a treatment model for those with borderline personality disorder. The method emphasizes the development of four skill sets: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. A combination of cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness principles are employed to help people gain better control over their impulsive self-destructive behavior and to allow for a different way of managing intense feelings.

What is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive-behavioral strategies help people examine problematic thinking patterns and ineffective or self destructive behaviors and to replace these with more effective coping strategies.

What is mindfulness practice?

Mindfulness practice involves increasing self awareness by learning to focus on one’s experience of the present moment.

What does “empirically supported” mean?

DBT is an empirically supported technique, meaning that it has been clinically tested for its effectiveness in adolescents and adults.

Will my family be involved in my treatment?

Involvement of both family and friends can be helpful to the success of clients in treatment for borderline personality disorder. Family meetings are a regular part of treatment.

Family and friends are also allowed scheduled visits. In addition to support, these visits serve as opportunities for patients to practice new social behaviors and skills.

Please see our visitor accommodations list in order to find convenient overnight lodging for friends and family.

How old do I need to be to attend McLean Gunderson?

McLean Gunderson serves adult women ages 21 and older.

How long will I be at McLean Gunderson?

The minimum length of stay is 60 days. The actual length of stay, however, is determined by a person's treatment plan and her progress during the course of treatment. More often than not individuals choose to stay in the program more than the 60-day minimum.

Will you help be create a plan to follow after I am discharged?

The treatment team will work closely with you as well as with family, significant friends, and outside providers to develop an appropriate, individualized aftercare plan. Recommendations by staff are made based upon clinical needs, progress made during treatment, situation, and goals.

For whom is the program named?

The residence is named after John G. Gunderson, MD, founding member and medical director of the McLean Center for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. A consultant to the residence, Dr. Gunderson is a pioneer in the research and treatment of borderline personality disorder and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a teaching affiliate of McLean Hospital.

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