Dr. Lois W. Choi-Kain

Dr. Lois Choi-Kain

Dr. Choi-Kain (2021-2023 YI) is Director of the Gunderson Personality Disorders Institute at McLean Hospital. One of the events our organization sponsored for BPD Awareness Month was a Zoom meeting with Dr. Choi-Kain. On May 16 she met virtually with many members of our Families for BPD Research community to talk about her research project, which aims to identify viable options to help those living with BPD when access to skilled mental health professionals is limited or unavailable. Dr. Choi-Kain will assess the effectiveness of psychoeducational videos and self-assessment in isolation as tools to reduce BPD symptoms and begin to verify a methodology for their use without reliance on face-to-face interventions.

We had the opportunity to sit down with her again and her research associate in July when she was in New York working on new psychoeducational videos for those who struggle with BPD. Dr. Choi-Kain has many videos on YouTube about BPD, and one video in particular that is helpful for both patients and families, as well as clinicians, is “Strategies to Successfully Manage Emotions.” 

Please save the date for the upcoming BBRF “Meet the Scientist” webinar featuring Dr. Choi-Kain on December 13 at 2pm!

Dr. Edward Selby, expert BPD Researcher

Dr. Ed Selby

Dr. Selby (2012-2014 YI) is Associate Professor in Psychology at Rutgers University, and Director of the Emotion and Psychopathology Lab. He and his team are examining the intersection between various forms of psychopathology and problems with emotion dysregulation. We have been lucky to have had many calls with him over the years, as well as having him as our guest at the BBRF Women’s Luncheon, “Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness.”

His latest project involves the development of an exciting new BPD smartphone app, Storm/Breaker. May 5 marked the virtual kickoff event for the full programming of the app. Dr. Selby explained that many people with BPD have stormy emotions which get out of control very quickly, often leading to harmful behaviors. His hope for the Storm/Breaker app is that it will break an emotional cascade early on, and prevent dysregulated behaviors such as substance abuse, binge-eating, and self-injury which can in turn make life harder, and lead to a lower quality of life. Watch the kickoff event here.

The app is expected to be ready for testing in October 2022. Anyone interested in being a Beta tester can reach out directly to Dr. Selby at edward.selby@rutgers.edu.

To learn about the Emotional Cascade Model that Dr. Selby developed, here are links to two of his articles:

Article 1: “An Exploration of the Emotional Cascade Model in Borderline
Personality Disorder”

Article 2: “Emotion Cascade as Prospective Predictors of Dysregulated Behaviors in Borderline Personality Disorder”

Dr. Kate Saunders, expert BPD Researcher

Dr. Kate Saunders

Dr. Saunders (2013-2015 YI) is Associate Professor and Director of Medical Studies at the University of Oxford. We met with her via Zoom on August 15 to discuss her 2021 article, “Review of Emerging Circadian Phenotype of Borderline Personality Disorder: Mechanisms, Opportunities and Future Directions.” There is significant evidence suggesting that disturbance of circadian rhythm, the internal “clock” that regulates the sleep/wake cycle, is a common, although an unaddressed feature of BPD. Symptoms include insomnia and irregular sleep patterns which have been shown to exacerbate mood instability and impulsivity, as well as interfere with typical social and work routines. Dr. Saunders has called for better characterization of the circadian phenotype which could lead to a biological target for treatment. See link to her article below.

We also discussed an earlier article she co-authored which looks at the relative inflexibility of those living with BPD around judgements of the untrustworthiness of others and their increased ability to modify those views after treatment in a Democratic Therapeutic Community (DTC), a type of psychosocial therapy setting used in the UK for treatment of personality disorders. In contrast to a traditional institutional setting for treatment, DTC is a communal setting where patients and staff collaborate in decision-making, and share communal activity such as meals. Peer support and challenge are key features, as well as empowerment and personal responsibility. Click on the links to see her articles:

Article 1: “The Emerging Circadian Phenotype of Borderline Personality Disorder: Mechanisms, Opportunities and Future Directions”

Article 2: “A Computational Phenotype of Disrupted Moral Inference in Borderline Personality Disorder”

Article 3: “Democratic Therapeutic Community Treatment for Personality Disorder: Randomized Controlled Trial”