A Guide to General Psychiatric Management for Borderline Personality Disorder
Developed to connect emotions and behaviors to stressors, GPM can be learned easily and can help most BPD patients
May 2, 2022
General psychiatric management (GPM), also known as good psychiatric management, is a treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD).
BPD is a complex condition that can make everything about a person’s life feel unstable, including their emotions, sense of self, and relationships. While BPD is a serious illness, it is also highly treatable.
Because of its generalist approach, GPM is easily learned by most clinicians and effective for treating most BPD patients. At the heart of GPM is the idea that most people with BPD will get better over time, and lasting change does not require intensive treatment.
GPM therapists focus on patients’ hypersensitivity to interpersonal relationships.
Therapists connect the patient’s emotions and behaviors to relationship stressors. They incorporate practical problem-solving (case management), education, and realistic goal setting into treatment.
With GPM, more therapists can become qualified to help people with BPD. More people with BPD can then receive the help they need.
Keep Reading To Learn
- Why GPM was developed
- How GPM helps people with BPD
- Who can provide GPM—and how to find care
Understanding General Psychiatric Management
People with borderline personality disorder make up about 1.6% of the general population. In clinical settings, 20% of patients have BPD.
There are many excellent treatments for borderline personality disorder. These include dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mentalization-based treatment (MBT), and transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). These treatments generally take years to master and are only offered by therapists or treatment programs specializing in BPD.
Given the high number of BPD patients who seek care, most clinicians will treat people with the condition at some point. However, many therapists do not have the resources to pursue intensive training and many patients cannot access specialized treatments.
As a result, people with BPD do not have enough options for treatment and they may receive inadequate care.
General psychiatric management addresses this need for more BPD treatment partly because it is more easily learned and offered by clinicians. The training can be delivered in as little as one day of additional training for mental health professionals already in practice and is increasingly being integrated into psychiatric training as the “first-line” treatment for BPD.
The late John Gunderson, MD, developed GPM. Gunderson, a professor at Harvard Medical School and psychiatrist at McLean Hospital, was a pioneer in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of borderline personality disorder. He believed that most clinicians could learn to treat BPD using GPM techniques that could be taught efficiently and delivered to patients at less cost than specialized BPD treatments.
While Gunderson believed some BPD patients needed specialized treatments, he maintained that GPM could help most of them lead healthy and productive lives.