DIAGNOSIS: Borderline Personality Disorder

TREATMENT: Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) Group Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder


  • Basic premise: STEPPS is a manual-based group treatment program for outpatients with borderline personality disorder that combines cognitive behavioral elements with skills training. Patients learn about the behaviors and feelings that define BPD in addition to various emotion management and behavioral skills to help manage the disorder. STEPPS does not include individual therapy. If working with an individual therapist, group members are encouraged to take their STEPPS materials to their individual therapy sessions and ask their therapist to help reinforce what they are learning in the STEPPS program. The program involves 20 two-hour weekly sessions with two co-facilitators who follow a detailed lesson plan. It is similar to attending a class. Participants receive a packet of materials each week, including an agenda and homework assignments. STEPPS is systems-based in that family members, significant others, and healthcare professionals are educated about borderline personality disorder and instructed how best to interact with their relative or friend with the disorder. (Blum et al., 2008, p. 469)


Blum, N., St. John, D., Pfohl, B., Stuart, S., McCormick, B., Allen, J., Arndt, S., Black, D. W. (2008). Systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving (STEPPS) for outpatients with borderline personality disorder: A randomized controlled trial and 1-Year follow-up. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165(4), 468–478.

Bos, E. H., van Wel, E. B., Appelo, M. T., & Verbraak M. J. P. M. (2010). A randomized controlled trial of a dutch version of systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving for borderline personality disorder. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198(4), 299 –304.