NLP & Personality Disorders (Borderline, Narcissistic, Schizoid, etc.)


There is an NLP training out there where the NLP Trainer tells stories about how he used to cure people with schizophrenia. Even though schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are technically not personality disorders, it makes some people believe that NLP can fix that. A personality disorder like borderline, narcissistic personality disorder for which there is no cure. Nor is there for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This includes NLP. NLP trainers, however, do like to teach in metaphor, and not all their stories are true. I prefer my metaphors to be true or very clearly a fairy tale.

Sadly, if he only could cure personality disorders. It would be life-changing for those who spend their managing the disease for the symptoms to stay at bay. And many successfully do, by the way.

In the last week, I was asked by three different people:

  • Do you work with people with schizoid tendencies? (No.)
  • Do you think that person has a narcissistic personality disorder? (I can not answer that, as I do not diagnose.)
  • Have you ever had someone in your class or coaching practice with a personality disorder? (Yes, I most likely have.)

Please read last weeks article on my take, on how to work with this demographic.

Coaching & Personality Disorders (Bipolar, Borderline, Narcissistic, Schizophrenic etc.)

If you are a medical professional desiring to work with an NLP expert and need supervision or training in NLP, contact me here.

Please note I am not a medical professional, and all of the below is based on research online described by scientists and counselors working in the field. I just simplified it to be a quick reference guide for an NLP Practitioner or coach. You should not use this to diagnose, treat, advise or coach. They are extremely difficult to properly diagnose by a medical professional even, and people are often either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

You should use this article when:

  • You need to refer out.
  • Need to work with loved ones of people with a personality disorder; some are very common such as bipolar or borderline personality disorder.

Suspicious Personality Disorders

Paranoid Personality Disorder: an extreme distrust of others and considering others suspect when this really isn’t the case or when there is no indication for it. They can not read others about this, or properly reality test it. They continuously see threats in day-to-day situations and have trouble relaxing.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

This is not the same as schizophrenia. They do not have psychotic symptoms.

They have difficulty forming close relationships and predominantly prefer to be alone. They have trouble relating others and appear to be “cold.” They do not experience pleasure where other people do and have no interest in intimacy.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

This is also not the same as schizophrenia, as there is no psychosis.

People with this disorder experience distorted points of view and thoughts. They have trouble establishing close relationships. In communication, they appear to be cold. And use very unusual words and phrases; they would often be qualified as “odd” by others. They have trouble relating to others. They believe others are able to read minds, and have special powers. They feel tense and anxious where there is no need for this.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

A person who puts their own personal gain continuously before the needs of others. This happens in such extreme ways that it causes a lot of instability in someone’s life, or actions are continuously taken in anger or witg a lack of consideration for others. They can often put themselves in dangerous situations, have issues with empathy, and behave aggressively.

Emotional and Impulsive Disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

This is the most commonly diagnosed personality disorder. Bipolar disorder is often confused with BPD. They are not the same. Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression causes swings in mood, energy, and the ability to function throughout the day.

An extreme fear of abandonment or being left alone is one of someone’s main characteristics with BPD. They often have unstable relationships, mood swings, prone to harming themselves, are impulsive and self-destructive. They can display extreme anger. They often show other mental health problems as well.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

People with HPD always want to be at the center of attention; they continuously seek others’ approval. They may dress or act provocatively, are dramatic, and overemotional. They continuously feel the need to entertain people or take on a persona that gets attention. They make rash decisions and can easily be influenced by others.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A person with NPD has an extreme need for others to be aware of their achievements and expressing their own needs. They believe they are special and deserve more than others. They need others to recognize their worth, or their self-esteem crumbles. They quickly get upset when they feel that others ignore them and are unwilling to hail their achievements and getting what they deserve. They put their own needs first and come across as highly selfish.

Anxious Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder

People who have this disorder struggle to maintain relationships because they suffer so much anxiety. They avoid social activities, are extremely sensitive to criticism, and feel a sense that the world is out the disapprove of them. They worry about being “found out.” They quickly feel shamed or critiqued by others. They feel lonely and highly inferior. This prevents them to properly engage with new people or activities.

Dependent Personality Disorder

People with this disorder depend on others for nearly all decisions and day-to-day support needs. They need others to take responsibility for many areas of their life. They suffer from low self-confidence and that others are better than them. They are prone to agree when they technically disagree (often out of fear that others will no longer support them.)

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)

This is not the same as OCD, which is not a personality disorder but a behavior.

OCPD does have something in common with OCD, where it comes to an extreme sense of perfectionism, need for control, extreme lack of flexibility. They often want everything to be in order and under their control and set bizarrely high standards for themselves and others. They are prone to “my way or the highway.” They get anxious when things aren’t perfect.

Given that I am anĀ NLP trainer and have been providing NLP training and coaching since 1997, I promise you, NLP does not fix personality disorders. However, therapists greatly benefit from taking NLP training to help people with bipolar, borderline, narcissistic, and other personality disorders.