Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) – What To Look For In Therapy

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)is a disorder in which the victim shows an accustomed pattern of attention-seeking and extremely histrionic behaviors starting in early adulthood in a large range of situations. Victims of HPD are highly emotional, charming, energetic, manipulative, impulsive, erratic, and demanding.

Treatment Option – Psychotherapy

Victims who suffer from this disorder are mostly hard to treat for many reasons. Psychotherapy, as with most personality disorders, is the treatment of choice. Group and family therapy are usually not recommended. Victims with this disorder often come off as being “fake” in their interpersonal relationships with other people. Patients often show all feelings with the same depth of emotion, unaware of the delicacy of their own emotional states. Therapists will find that taking a somewhat steady stance within this therapy is useful due to the common amplification of events and problems by the victims. By using a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion the client can mostly discover the impracticable expectations and fears associated with many behaviors and thinking.

Many people who are suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder will emphasize attractiveness over substance in their lives and relationships. Discussing and trying out new alternate behaviors may be helpful.

The therapist can also help by eluding traps during sessions, such as when the client starts using shallow criteria to judge another. The patient should ultimately look to be able to proactively engage any treatment steps discussed in therapy on their own throughout their lives.

Insight and cognitive-oriented approaches are usually largely ineffective in treating this disorder and thus should be avoided. People with this disorder are mostly incapable of analyzing their own unconscious motivations and concepts to a degree where it is beneficent.

While these approaches can be a part of a longer treatment plan, they should not be the focus. Helping the victim to analyze interactions from a more objective point of view and emphasizing substitute explanations for behavior is likely to be more effective. Analyzing and clarifying a victim’s emotions are also crucial components of this therapy.


In most personality disorders, medications are not suggested except for the treatment of specific, concurrent Axis I diagnoses. Attention should be given when advising medications to someone who suffers from histrionic personality disorder because of the potential abuse of the medication to contribute to self-destructive or otherwise harmful conducts.

Article provided by Thrive Philadelphia. For further information or assistance, please visit us at https://thriveworks.com/philadelphia-counseling.

Explore the latest mental wellness tips and discussions, delivered straight to your inbox.

Dr. Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore, PhD

Anthony Centore, PhD, is Founder and Chair at Thriveworks — a counseling practice focused on premium client care, with 340+ locations across the US. Anthony is a Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and author of "How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice". He is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."