Welcome to
Families for Borderline Personality Disorder Research

Families for Borderline Personality Disorder Research is a grassroots group of family members, friends, and others who have loved ones living with BPD. We are committed to actively supporting BPD research as the best hope for recovery from this painful and devastating disorder.

and Hope



MYTH 1: BPD is a character flaw. FACT: BPD is a brain disease.

In the emotional processing centers of the brain there is a malfunction – the “rational center” is underactive and the “emotion center” is overactive.


MYTH 2: BPD is not treatable. FACT: There are five evidence-based
treatments for BPD that are very effective.

They are: dialectical behavior therapy; mentalization-based therapy; transference-focused psychotherapy; schema-focused therapy; and good psychiatric management.

Dr. Jenna Traynor

Meet our latest (2023) Young Investigator – Dr. Jenna Traynor

New tools to assess suicidal thinking

She will be researching neuroscience tools to investigate best individualized treatment for people with BPD with the goal of reducing suicidal thinking.

Dr. Anthony Ruocco, expert on BPD research
A Promising Treatment for BPD

Dr. Ruocco (our 2014 Young Investigator) combined two treatments, magnetic seizure therapy (MST) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), in a small pilot trial that showed a reduction in suicidal ideation in those with BPD and treatment-resistant depression.

Dr. Sarah Fineberg, expert BPD Researcher
Potential Use of Ketamine for BPD Symptoms

Dr. Fineberg (our 2022 Young Investigator) has investigated Ketamine, a drug not previously tested for BPD. Results from a small pilot study indicated its potential effectiveness in treating mood symptoms and related impairments in people with BPD.

Dr. Edward Selby, expert BPD Researcher
A New Smartphone App to Control Escalating Emotions

Dr. Selby (our 2012 Young Investigator) developed a new BPD smartphone app, Storm/Breaker, which has just become available at no charge on the Apple App Store. This app is designed to help people with BPD quickly get control of escalating emotions before these emotions lead to harmful behaviors.

Dr. Lois W. Choi-Kain
Online Video Education and Assessments to Empower Individuals with BPD

Dr. Choi-Kain (our 2021 Young Investigator) has created online videos that provide psychoeducation and assessments for those with BPD, aiming to empower these individuals through increased insight and awareness, and attaining a reduction in symptom severity.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness affecting millions of adults in the U.S.; although less familiar, it is one of the most common serious mental illnesses.

  • The symptoms of BPD are severe and disruptive – including emotion dysregulation, unstable interpersonal relationships, marked impulsivity, and problems with self-image.
  • Ten percent of individuals with BPD take their own lives; there is also a high rate of self-injury without suicidal intent.
  • BPD has a significant genetic component – with environmental factors such as an invalidating or abusive environment contributing to the risk of developing the disorder.
“It is pretty much the most painful and lonely existence imaginable.”

A woman describes what it feels like living with BPD. *

Two experts in BPD give an overview of signs, symptoms, proper diagnosis and treatments of BPD, as well as the latest research. Watch this engaging and compassionate video sponsored by National Institute of Mental Health.

Living with BPD

For many individuals, development, well-being, and personal relationships are greatly impaired. It can be difficult to get or maintain a job and self-sufficiency is an ongoing struggle or painfully out of reach. The majority of those with BPD also suffer from co-occurring illnesses, such as depression and substance abuse, making their lives even more challenging.

sad teenager with borderline personality disorder (bpd)

Why BPD Research?

“Research in neurobiology would be one of the most important things to us. Something happens in the brain; if they can figure out exactly what, maybe they can figure out how to cure it or how to prevent it from happening in the first place… We are determined to do what we can to help keep others from experiencing what Brice and our family have experienced.”

Susan and Craig Clendening

Families for Borderline Personality Disorder Research was born out of a compelling need to address this gaping research deficit. Our goal is to increase the number of young BPD investigators and expand their opportunities, thereby accelerating the growth of research into this devastating disorder.

*Video segment from the Congressional Briefing on Borderline Personality Disorder in 2010 sponsored by the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.