Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders

Why is it important to know the types of personality disorders? What are those? How are personality disorders formed? While face reading has been predominantly explored during the 1930s, disorders of personality were not widely accepted as a discipline. However, practitioners who have mastered it offered important insights for the development of personality theories. Among the existing methods is physiognomy. Physiognomy examines facial expressions to determine character.

a lot of people crossing the pedestrian

It is similar to morphopsychology, the study of human facial features and compositions.

Each individual has unique characteristics and personality traits. Your genetic makeup determines some parts of your personality from the beginning. As you grow up, various factors influence your personality development. All of these factors can also contribute to the development of personality disorders. Read on to know what personality disorders are and how counseling can help address personality disorders.

What Is Personality Disorders

Personality refers to an individual’s unique patterns of feeling, behaving, and thinking. Environmental and social experiences and inherited characteristics influence these. Throughout a person’s lifetime, their personality usually stays over time.

Personality disorders are maladaptive ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling. Personality disorders are long-term behavioral patterns and experiences that significantly differ from societal expectations. Individuals with personality disorders deviate from the cultural norm. A personality disorder may cause distress and problems in social functioning, which can last over time. When left unmanaged, a personality disorder may significantly impair the behavioral responses of a person.

Personality Disorders

can greatly affect:

  • Emotional response
  • Ability to relate to other people
  • Thoughts about oneself or other people
  • Ability to control one’s overall behavior

Types of Personality Disorders

To be diagnosed with disorders of personality, an individual must display patterns of the behavioral characteristics of that particular condition. This characterization must be consistent throughout a person’s lifetime. These personality traits can also indicate emotional disturbance from specific stressors or issues.  This is what differentiates disorders of personality from anxiety and mood disorders.

3 categories of personality disorders

The Unique Feature Of DSM:

(DSM IV Personality Disorders)

Type A Personality disorders

Odd and eccentric personality features characterize this cluster.

Schizotypal Personality Disorders

People with schizotypal personality disorder have distorted and eccentric behavior. This also translates to their way of beliefs and way of thinking. Additionally, they also have a pattern of being very uncomfortable in relationships.

Schizoid Personality Disorders

A person with a schizoid personality disorder detaches from his or her social relationships. They also have little emotional expression. With this, they may deliberately choose to be alone and not engage with other people.

Paranoid Personality Disorders

Individuals with paranoid personality disorder are always suspicious of others. They perceive other people as deceitful, spiteful, and harmful to them. This is why they may find it difficult to be close to other people.

A girl looking through plants

cluster B Personality Disorders

Dramatic, erratic, and extremely emotional behaviors characterize this cluster.

Histrionic Personality Disorders

A person with a histrionic personality disorder has patterns of excessive emotion. They also have extreme attention-seeking behavior. So they can be very uncomfortable if they are not the center of attention.

Antisocial Personality Disorders

Individuals with an antisocial personality disorder may seem to have little regard for other people’s welfare. They lack the empathy to relate to other people. Popular media portrays people with antisocial personality disorder as sociopaths or psychopaths. However, this condition does not necessarily lead to violent tendencies.

Narcissistic Personality Disorders

Individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality have a high need for admiration. They have a grandiose sense of their importance and entitlement. With narcissistic personality disorder, they manifest a lack of empathy towards others.

Borderline Personality Disorders

People with borderline personality disorder have patterns of being unstable in interpersonal relationships. Abandonment preoccupies them, making them impulsive and reactive at times.

cluster C Personality Disorders

Anxious or fearful qualities of personality characterize this cluster.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – A person who has OCD has a pattern of being preoccupied with perfection. They may have an unhealthy obsession with orderliness and control. This behavior will disrupt their time for leisure, relationships, or for themselves.
  • Dependent Personality Disorder – Individuals with dependent personality disorder are submissive and dependent on others. They have a pattern of needing to be overly taken care of. With this, they have difficulties in decision-making without assurance from others.
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder – Clinically, people with avoidant personality disorder have a pattern of extreme shyness and feelings of inadequacy. They may also be overly sensitive towards criticism.

Personality Disorders Counseling

Counseling primarily helps in diagnosing personality disorders and identifying symptoms. Counselors must conduct personality tests to confirm that the traits match the condition. They also determine how serious your personality disorder might be.

After diagnosing, they will devise a treatment plan. Psychotherapy is an effective method of treating personality disorders. This way, you can gain an understanding of your mental condition. Discussing thoughts, feelings, and behavior helps you learn how to manage your daily life. Whether in relationships or professional careers, counseling may help in dealing with personality disorder symptoms.

Some common types of therapy for personality disorders include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Psychoanalytic therapy

Personality disorders 

individuals must actively participate in their treatment.

Counselors will provide them with coping strategies to deal with the difficulties due to their personality disorders. They will also teach their patient how to perform self-care.

Most importantly, counseling can help them address the stigma toward their personality disorders. One of the most common reasons why individuals with personality disorders do not consult mental health professionals is stigma. It can be a barrier to treatment and the willingness of the person to seek help. The counselor should reassure them that there is nothing wrong with getting professional help for personality disorders.


Counseling can help an individual recognize how to manage and treat their personality disorders. It is helpful to both the patient and the people around them. In the long run, counseling can help patients with personality disorders live life as normally as possible.


What are the 10 major personality disorders?

What is the most serious personality disorder?

How can you tell if someone has a personality disorder?

What triggers a personality disorder?

What is the least common personality disorder?

Personality Traits Of An Effective Counselor

During the 1930s, a French psychologist named Louis Corman developed morphopsychology. Morphopsychology uses physiognomy, or the study of human facial features, in predicting personality. According to Corman, the human facial composition is a good indicator of the character of a person. It can also give insights into the type of intelligence an individual possesses, whether emotional or instinctive.

Despite being a scientific discipline, morphopsychology has not been widely accepted by scientists. There is no clear evidence of the effectiveness of physiognomy. Yet, there are various methods to determine personality traits and characteristics developed in recent years. One of these is the OCEAN model of personality. Other personality traits are classified into five major personality traits in this model:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

Knowing your personality traits will give you valuable insights into your behavior. A better understanding of yourself can benefit your personal and career development. When taking personality tests, you can seek guidance from psychiatrists, psychometrists, or a psychiatrist. 

Like everyone else, these mental health care professionals have also determined their personality traits. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an effective counselor? What personality traits should you have and develop to be a counselor? 

Compassionate And Empathic

The ability to relate to the client is the first and perhaps most important personality trait. As a counselor, you need to have a nurturing and caring personality. You will face situations where your client may feel hopeless and helpless. Being compassionate and caring allows you to empathize with people’s struggles.

In these cases, it is important to consider the other person’s situation. Empathizing means being able to put yourself in their situations. What would you feel if you were the one having these experiences? It is important to approach their problem firstly from their own perspectives. If you have adequately understood their plight, then you can help them find a solution for it. 


Good At Communicating And Listening

An effective counselor is also good at communicating and listening to their clients. Counseling sessions should be about the mental problems of the clients. During a conversation, an effective counselor can remove the emphasis on themselves. They actively listen to what the other person is saying. If necessary, they provide professional advice to their client.

The client may also have difficulties in expressing themselves verbally. A good listener understands nonverbal cues of communication. To effectively communicate with the other person, they must also be aware of their body language. For instance, an individual looking downwards may be having feelings of shame and guilt.

In these cases, a counselor should establish rapport to make the clients comfortable sharing their stories. An effective communicator and listener are capable of keeping these stories confidential. Counselors should be able to build trust with the client, to know and understand them better. 

Creative When Solving Problems


Counselors should be creative when it comes to providing solutions to their client’s problems. Since every individual has unique characteristics and personalities, counselors should be able to use various methods.

Being creative in solving problems also requires the ability to think outside the box. For instance, a counselor might suggest playing therapy to adults who show signs of repressed thoughts and emotions. This can help them explore their identity and facilitate the healthy release of their feelings.

Despite the need for creativity in their profession, they also must adhere to scientific methods and techniques as foundations. Effective counselors know when to use alternative methods in assisting their clients. They provide the best treatment options for each individual. Even if it requires stretching their ideas and imagination.

Other Qualities Of An Effective Counselor

Aside from the primary personality traits, an effective counselor should also fully understand emotion and reason. Throughout the counseling session, there will be instances where too much compassion may cloud their judgment, or they may feel attached to their clients.

When it comes to therapy, a good counselor knows when to use empathy and reason. For instance, if the consultation aims to diagnose the client, a counselor must adhere to psychological tests. However, this does not mean that they won’t use empathy and compassion to gather more information for the diagnosis, such as the client’s current thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

When it comes to treatment, a good psychologist must still be objective. They must eliminate any bias that might jeopardize the client’s health. For instance, if counselors are fond of children, they must be careful not to get too attached to their young clients.

Finally, effective counselors exhibit great self-awareness and understanding of themselves. Counselors should take the time to develop their personalities. They need to understand their own prejudices and interests. This will help them separate themselves from their clients’ problems and avoid projecting on them. As counselors, they must have a deeper understanding of their identity to guide clients towards mental healing.