World-Class Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

July 25, 2018

McLean Hospital combines the highest quality care, research, and clinical training to provide unparalleled specialty services for adolescents and adults living with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Offering individual and family services that have proven results, McLean has specialized residential and partial hospital programs and outpatient care—as well as an array of treatments for coexisting diagnoses and symptoms such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and trauma. Our specialized therapeutic approaches, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and mentalization-based treatment, help patients with the goal of improving interpersonal and relationships skills and reducing self-destructive behaviors. Services include individual and group therapy, family therapy, comprehensive psychiatric and medical assessments, customized treatment plans and aftercare planning, medication evaluation and management, and patient education and support.

“McLean’s expertise in the treatment of borderline personality disorder was born out of John Gunderson’s pioneering work that integrated BPD into the Diagnostic Statistical Manual,” said Lois W. Choi-Kain, MEd, MD, medical and program director of the Gunderson Residence and director of the Borderline Personality Disorder Training Institute. “As a result, a massive swell of progress in research and treatment development for BPD occurred and transformed the diagnosis from one of stigma and futility to one of hope. Our services represent the expanse of that progress, ranging from shorter-term to longer-term services, many types of reimbursement, and many different evidence-based treatment approaches. There is no other hospital in the world with this degree of diversity in treatment approaches and focused dedication to advancing the cutting edge in terms of BPD’s treatment, training of professionals about the disorder, and scientific discovery to further improve our knowledge base.”

Treatment at McLean
McLean provides unparalleled specialty services for adolescents and adults living with borderline personality disorder

Below is an overview of the BPD treatment program options at McLean. For further information or to refer a patient, please contact any of the programs directly.


McLean’s adolescent DBT programs, collectively known as 3East, provide specialized care for teens and young adults who require treatment for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and emerging BPD. The programs in the 3East continuum are specifically designed to accommodate patients in different phases of the treatment and recovery process, from highly focused residential treatment to outpatient care. We have intensive treatment tracks for both boys and girls, and our day program (partial hospital) and outpatient program are coed. The length of treatment is 20 days for the day program, a minimum of 20 weeks for the outpatient program, and a minimum of three months for the residential program.


The Gunderson programs—Gunderson Residence and Gunderson Outpatient Program—offer highly specialized therapeutic approaches for individuals with BPD and other severe personality disorders, including those who experience co-occurring psychiatric conditions such as substance use, eating disorders, depression, or anxiety. These self-pay programs are best suited for those who have BPD and other complex personality disorders; who are seeking treatment for core issues related to personality disorders such as emotion dysregulation, self-harm, suicidality, and relationship difficulties; and who struggle with self-image problems, feelings of self-doubt, intense fear of abandonment, and low self-worth. The average length of stay for the residential program is approximately four months, and the outpatient program requires a commitment of six months.

Hill Center for Women

The Hill Center for Women is an insurance-based program that offers psychiatric and psychological services for women with histories of trauma and related disorders such as PTSD, dissociative disorders, BPD, and mood and anxiety disorders. Empathy, compassion, collaboration, and empowerment are emphasized to help women build strength and regain control of their lives. The program provides intensive DBT with a specialized emphasis on the treatment of self-destructive or impulsive behavior and emotional dysregulation as they present in survivors of early, repeated traumatic experiences. The center offers two-week residential and two-week partial hospital care options.

Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program

The Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program is a day treatment program that helps individuals to develop skills that improve their mood and ability to function in hopes of allowing them to better cope with life circumstances. To achieve this mission, the Behavioral Health Program (BHP) utilizes cognitive behavior therapy approaches (including DBT skills) for a wide range of conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. BHP is useful as a step-down transition from acute inpatient care or as an alternative to inpatient treatment. The length of treatment at this program typically lasts 3 to 10 days.

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