Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor



Social Work


The purpose of this study was to explore the research question: how should clinicians adapt and provide therapeutic interventions within the framework of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) while engaging in clinical practice with individuals diagnosed with both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and a Developmental Disability (DD)? Using a qualitative design, seven participants from a Minnesota Department of Human Services

Certified DBT Provider agency were interviewed. A semi-structured interview of twelve formal questions was used based on the literature review to further explore 1) occurrences of clinicians having clients with the identified co-morbid diagnoses, 2)barriers to treatment of this population, 3) attitudes and/or beliefs by clinicians of individuals diagnosed with this co-morbidity and 4) clinicians perceived effectiveness with this population. Findings suggest an overall positive regard towards individuals diagnosed both with a Developmental Disability and Borderline Personality Disorder. Additionally, clinicians overall provided positive belief and supporting evidence that DBT is effective and can be provided to this population. This study‟s findings indicate a need for further exploration and research with this population to better serve the needs of individuals with intellectual impairments and Developmental Disabilities in the mental health system.

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