VISTAS Client Characteristics and Needs

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.



Identifying and Managing the Personality-Disordered Client in Everyday Counseling Practice

Len T. Sperry

2008

Clients with personality disorders can present significant challenges in counseling practice. Personality disorders are persistent patterns of personality that have become inflexible and maladaptive patterns of perceiving, thinking, feeling and acting. While it is theoretically possible, but very difficult, to change personality dynamics in short-term counseling, it is more realistic and easier to “manage” them. To work effectively in such counseling contexts, counselors must be able to quickly identifying personalitydisordered patterns and then implement interventions that manage them so that short-term goals can be achieved. This paper describes a diagnostic strategy for rapidly identifying personality disorders and an effective intervention strategy for managing or indirectly changing personality-disordered cognitions and behaviors. Case material illustrates this second strategy.

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