Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Lance T. Peterson


Current research available identifies that when treating Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) the empirically supported model of choice is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and BPD is known to impact approximately 1% of the population. However, it is estimated that 23 million Americans (or 10%) of the population meets criteria for a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). With a non-completion rate in upwards of 60% when a person has co-occurring BPD & SUD this research sought out to identify what current practices DBT providers in Minnesota implemented to increase patient successes, and what the perspectives were from DBT providers as it relates to intervention timing and strategies when treating Co-Occurring patients. Through a survey of DBT practitioners in Minnesota, this study unearthed data illustrating that the complex needs of BPD & SUD patients are often not addressed with DBT alone. Additionally, in this mixed methods study respondents identified that when addressing the needs of co-occurring BPD and SUD patients, no one approach is recommended. Data indicated that patient needs and the severity of each disorder is what drives them to recommend different approaches. Additionally, it was discovered that DBT alone is typically not sufficient when treating BPD & SUD patients.


mental health, substance use disorders, DBT, addiction, co-occurring disorder

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.