Patient Information
Child & Adolescent
College Mental Health Program


The McLean Center for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

All Borderline Services (pdf)

Gunderson Residence

Family Workshops

John Gunderson, MD, Medical Director

John Gunderson

John Gunderson, MD

The Center for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) at McLean Hospital provides a comprehensive array of services for the diagnosis and treatment of BPD. The program, for individuals 18 and older, is operated by dedicated professionals with specialized training and experience in working with individuals with BPD. It offers an innovative combination of behavioral skills training, medication management, psychoeducational services and long-term individual psychotherapy. All are aimed at enhancing self-reliance and social functioning, while significantly reducing the need for hospitalization.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

BPD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of unstable relationships, self-image, emotions and impulse control. Individuals with BPD may present with a combination of difficulties that often include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic symptoms, substance abuse and/or eating disorders. These conditions can manifest themselves through recurring fears of abandonment, angry outbursts, identity disturbances, self-damaging behavior or suicidality, intolerance of being alone and/or chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.


New patients receive a thorough outpatient evaluation from which individual treatment needs are identified and recommendations are made for placement in the most appropriate level of care, beginning with referral to an experienced psychotherapist. Treatment reflects the latest advances in psychosocial and psychopharmacological therapies, drawing from psychodynamic, biological, social-psychological and cognitive-behavioral perspectives.

Residential Care

Gunderson Residence of McLean Hospital is a new, exclusive treatment program for women, age 21 and older, with BPD or other complex personality disorders. The self-funded program offers highly structured, individualized treatment in a comfortable, supportive setting designed to foster self-reliance, independence and optimal functioning.

Outpatient Services

A comprehensive outpatient program offers approximately 10 groups per week and psychopharmacologic services. The groups include: Self Assessment Group, DBT Skills Group, Mentalization Group, Interpersonal Group, Readiness Group and the Psychoeducational Family Interventions and Multiple Family Groups. For further information, please contact the Admissions Coordinator at 617.855.3452, Monday through Friday.

Experienced Staff

John Gunderson, MD, and his colleagues have been central to the development of knowledge about personality disorders, including their diagnoses, causes and treatments. Clinicians working with Dr. Gunderson are experienced professionals with extensive training and special interest in treating individuals with personality disorders. George Smith, LICSW, direct partial hospital and outpatient services respectively. Elizabeth Murphy, PhD, coordinates the DBT services and Maureen Smith, LICSW, coordinates family services. Mary Zanarini, EdD, oversees an extensive research program.

Helpful Links

About McLean Hospital

U.S. News & World Report named McLean America's #1 Hospital for Psychiatry in 2013 . McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare. For more information about McLean visit us on McLeanHospital or follow the hospital on Twitter@McLeanHospital.

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