Support for Family and Loved Ones

Having a loved one, whether it is a partner, family member, or friend, struggle with complex mental health problems can be a challenging experience for all persons involved. Feelings such as fear, sadness, anger, guilt, and shame are common. Loved ones also often find themselves feeling confused about what is contributing to these problems and/or what to do next. In addition, they may struggle with taking care of themselves. As such, the DBT Centre of Vancouver offers consultation and periodic group services (typically offered in the fall) to assist loved ones in dealing with these matters.

 Consultation Services

Clinicians are available for time-limited consultation sessions to assist partners, family members, and friends struggling with a loved one’s complex mental health problems including providing help in:

  • Better understanding the factors contributing to a loved one’s problems with suicide and self-harm, borderline personality disorder, and/or other problems in managing intense emotions.
  • Examining the role of contingency management techniques (such as reinforcement) in promoting more effective coping on the part of the loved one and caregiver.
  • Learning techniques for better communicating with the loved one, especially validation and how it can be used to improve relationships and help reduce some emotional outbursts.
  • Other CBT and DBT based techniques for managing your own distress and better taking care of yourself.

These sessions are not meant as a substitute for individual therapy but rather to provide you with guidance in strategies that may help in better coping with a loved-ones mental illness.


Fact Sheet and Quick Tips for Loved Ones and Family Members

We’ve assembled a 2 page informative fact sheet for people that have loved ones with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Included is information on BPD, resources, as well as some quick tips.

Read our Loved Ones Fact Sheet (995kb).


Information about our services

In addition to the BPD fact sheet, we’ve put together a letter for family members or loved ones that may have questions about confidentiality, consent, or how they can be involved in treatment.

Read our Letter for Loved Ones and Family Members (233kb).


 Group Services

We also intermittently offer a 8-week group for those loving and/or living with persons with BPD. This special course is designed to provide partners, family, and friends with tools for better understanding and assisting loved ones. This group will also teach participants some of the practical skills commonly covered in the DBT groups to effectively manage emotions, communicate to others, and tolerate overwhelming distress.

This course typically runs Friday afternoons from 1 – 3pm. The fee for one participant is $995. More information can be found here.

More specifically, this course will cover the following topics:

  • What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
  • Why do people have BPD?
  • Some harmful myths and misconceptions about BPD
  • Hope for BPD: Treatments that work
  • Introduction to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • DBT skills in action
  • How to use validation to reduce conflict and calm emotional storms
  • How to understand behaviour and set reasonable limits
  • How to use skills to understand and manage intense emotions
  • How to tolerate and manage crises and better accept yourself, your emotions, and your loved one
  • How to use interpersonal effectiveness skills to improve communication with your loved one

Participants will be provided with all needed materials, including a binder with handouts covering the DBT skills, copies of the Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide by Dr. Alex Chapman and other materials.

If there are enough participants, we are aiming to start a Family & Loved Ones group in the Spring of 2018. Please email Jen at if you are interested in participating.

To find out more about these services, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us directly at 604-569-1156 or