Melanie Simons

Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Study Completed: 2010
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Client and clinician experiences of dialectical behaviour therapy: A discourse analysis

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Simons’ research presents four studies examining the experience of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) using Discourse Analysis.  The discourses associated with BPD were of BPD as an illness, as a pathological or stigmatising label with connotations of a difficult client group, as a means of ‘making sense’ of the clients’ experience, and as emotion dysregulation and a skills deficit.  DBT was presented as providing skills which enabled clients (and clinicians) to manage distress in their lives.  Clients described themselves as changing in a fundamental way, and assuming new identities, which was a frightening (albeit positive) process. DBT was constructed as well researched and theory based, and as a coherent whole which was also divisible into functional elements.  DBT was constructed as helpful within all the studies, and was promoted as a worthwhile therapy by all participants.

Associate Professor Keith Tuffin
Associate Professor Joanne Taylor
Dr Kerry Gibson