Bowling Ward – Highly Specialised Personality Disorder Service for Women

Bowling Ward at Cygnet Hospital Bierley is a 16 bed specialist service for women with highly complex needs associated with a diagnosis of personality disorder. The service aims to support service users to learn effective emotional management, to reduce emotional dysregulation and to manage their own mental health and recovery.

Bowling Ward provides a fully comprehensive Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) programme delivered by the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). We are able to accept women who are willing to engage in DBT and for those women who are hesitant about DBT, we offer a pre-commitment/pre-engagement service to help establish the best approach for each individual.

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The service offers a highly structured environment. All service users have individualised ward therapy programmes, alongside a personal programme of activities and interests. The therapies department use a person-centred approach to work with service users to identify which treatments are most helpful to their recovery based on assessment of their needs.

We provide an evidenced-based substance misuse programme led by psychology called ‘Find your Way’. The programme addresses personal reasons for not using substances and aims to ‘fill the gap’ that substances filled. The treatment adopts a harm reduction approach that is more useful for people with mental health illness and is delivered through weekly group and individual therapy sessions. There are 4 stages of the programme: pre-treatment assessment and formulation, motivation and values, developing skills and relapse prevention.

“Before I went onto Bowling Ward I was intent on destroying myself, if it wasn’t for DBT I wouldn’t be where I am today”Service user, Bowling Ward

Bowling Ward provides as part of the care pathway, Phoenix Suite, a 4 bed separate treatment environment where service users can prepare for discharge from the service. Through positive risk-taking and encouraging self-management, service users can make the move towards independence while still having full access to the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) programme and the support of the Bowling Ward team. The aim is to enable and empower service users to move towards independence and recovery through practicing the skills they’ve achieved in a safe environment.

Denholme Ward, our PICU service at the hospital, is part of the care pathway if a service user escalates and requires a more secure environment for a short period of time. The 1:1 DBT sessions will continue, where possible, so that the therapeutic work isn’t interrupted.

“Good staff and knowledge of BPD, fantastic OTs, fed well, good structure and routine, likeable staff, a good environment.”Service user, Bowling Ward

Our therapies and activities:

  • Mindfulness
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
  • Find your Way (substance misuse)
  • Daily Living skills
  • Recovery College
  • Comprehensive community links to support vocational/educational, self-care and leisure opportunities

Our service user profile:

  • Female, aged 18+
  • Primary diagnosis of personality disorder
  • Secondary diagnosis of mild learning disability
  • Emotion regulation difficulties
  • May be detained under the Mental Health Act or informal
  • May have a forensic history
  • May present with co-morbid presentations:
    • Self-harm
    • Self-neglect
    • History of substance misuse
    • Complex needs
    • Disordered eating
  • May have a history of trauma and/or abuse
  • May have experienced previous placement breakdowns
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