You wrote …

Dear Marie-Paule,
I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy & HEALTHY New Year.  While this was a very challenging year for us all, I realize my daughter and I still have things to be grateful for.  At the top of my list is the work she and I have done with you, Julia and your colleagues.  Thank you for helping me to trust you and to recognize the benefit of the therapy. I am grateful for the relationship my daughter and I now enjoy.
With my gratitude and admiration,


Thank you for all the help over the past eight months. Also, thank you for [your work] with my [family]. We have benefited tremendously and our relationship gets better every day. Thank you for listening and guiding us. Sincerely,

I don’t know where to start to thank you enough for how you have changed my life. Your expertise with mental health disorders and your ability to share this understanding in the most compassionate way has enabled me to reconnect with my adult daughter in a way that I never thought was possible.

I am very grateful I found your Family Connections class as it opened up the opportunity to work with you and gain a whole new perspective and skill set when dealing with a family member with a serious mental disorder. I truly feel blessed to have met you. Thank you for giving me another chance with my daughter.


I  have a 17 year old son who has Borderline Personality Disorder traits along with some other difficult psychological challenges. Our family has been through a lot in our loving (and sometimes misguided) attempts to help him. (…) I am currently receiving coaching/counseling from Marie-Paule on a weekly basis. This has proven invaluable to me and my family in countless ways:
– I no longer feel “alone” in solving the often difficult day to day interactions with my son
– Our relationship has improved as I learn and practice mindfulness skills
– My fear and grief have been reduced, and my confidence increases with each small success
– My relationship with other family members improves because I have the support I need I am learning to focus on long term goals, and take care of myself
– I am learning what it must be like for him to live with this disorder every day
– Lastly, I see positive changes in my son as my own behavior changes!
Of course there are still days when I feel overwhelmed and sad. I know that I won’t be judged for this, and I can count on Marie-Paule to understand (she has been there!), adjust, and hone in on what I need to do in the moment. The ripple effect on our family has been tremendous…


Thank you for being kind and offering comfort on my first day, I was ready to run for the hills!  I was touched by your empathy and I will never forget you. *judgment statement*: you are an awesome counselor and a special person to work so closely with others the way you do and show a sincere caring for our well being. *observation actually. Lol. Sincerely,

I am certain you hear this all the time, but this was incredibly helpful. The truly astounding part is the dramatic impact it had on us. We are calmer, more in control, and able to step back and observe. …would not have believed it possible when we started.

Thank you for your commitment. You are genuinely helping people improve their lives, not many of us can say that.


Marie-Paule, I can’t tell you how much I’m thankful for having you as a clinician […] Thank you so much for helping me understand who I am.

I know that DBT and our work with Families On The Line  have been game changers both for our son and for us as we learn how to best support him and how to take care of ourselves on this journey

You have helped me tremendously with “benign, benign, benign” and the thought that the most important thing is my relationship with my kid. After so much well-intentioned advice to the contrary the best results have been obtained from being loving, supportive, positive and leaving her alone to figure out what she wants to do…

With much appreciation.


Marie-Paule, thank you so much. I feel I can’t express my gratitude. No one has given me this much concern ever in my life except my mother and yet it is very different. You helped give me a different outlook on everything and made everything good, and if not good, at least bearable. […] Thank you for never giving up on me that day or any day and always having a good listening ear. I will always remember: “Just the facts”.

How do you learn to radically accept the seemingly insurmountable challenges that come with parenting a child, a young adult child, with borderline personality disorder? How do you have the courage to make decisions that “feel” counterintuitive but at the same time prevent us from enabling our drug-addicted sufferer of borderline to fall more deeply into a pit of self-destruction and despair? How do you learn to be nonjudgmental when our loved one makes apparently irrational decisions because she is operating solely from her “emotion” mind? How do you come to see that your deep compassion for your loved one is killing YOU?

For me it has been through working with Marie-Paule de Valdivia on the skills of DBT. This challenging journey continues but now with times of true contentment for spending some quality times with my daughter, who despite it all, I truly love.

I cannot begin to thank you enough, Marie-Paule, for being with me throughout every crisis and for your guidance, support and never-ending encouragement on this very difficult path.


Marie-Paule, as a parent and a social worker in the field for over thirty years, I can truly say you are one of the best therapists I know. I would not hesitate, and will continue to refer my clients and friends to you. Your ability to connect with people and assess their situation is extremely good, even though phone coaching consultations.

The DBT model that you use is a very “user friendly” model. You provide parents with skills they can apply following their first meeting with you that make a profound difference. I can truly attest that you were life changing for my family. I only wish I’d known you sooner!

Equally important, for those of us parents who have struggled with the shame, guilt and self-blame of parenting a child who “doesn’t fit the mold”, you bring a deep sense of compassion and empathy. Your willingness to share your own successes and failures helped lighten the load! Thank you! Thank You!


Marie-Paule De Valdivia, Founder & Clinician Families On The Line

My experience is unique and multi-faceted. I am the relative of a family member who manages her BPD symptoms and with whom I enjoy a loving relationship.

As part of my MSW curriculum, I trained extensively in the DBT program of Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital. I have worked extensively with family members via phone or Skype; as well as in-person with clients who suffer from the symptoms of BPD and their families.

I have volunteered on the board of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder for 10 years, believing passionately in that mission and developing the Family Connections program in the US and around the world, as well as teaching it at home and overseas to hundreds of families and colleagues.

I am frequently invited to speak on the topic of families’ experience and treatment at conferences in the US and worldwide.

My Journey

When our child’s illness became evident a decade ago, we, her family, were very much overwhelmed and had no sense of where to turn. Despite the fact that they had been in intensive therapy; for about a year we floundered about, while their life which had been full of promise came to an abrupt stop, filled as it was with impulsive and dangerous behaviors. Yet no one brought up with us the diagnosis of BPD. And when they turned 18, of course no one discussed anything with us at all anymore. It is only when I discovered the description of BPD symptoms on the website of a well known psychiatric hospital, that all became clear.

Our child went into treatment. We took the NEABPD Family Connections class. Things improved vastly, both at home and for them. There were bumps in the road, but the progress was marked.

I started teaching Family Connections, I could see the profound effect on families and loved it. So I went back to school and earned an MSW. I was given the extraordinary opportunity to complete my second year practicum in the DBT program of the Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital. This gave me a well-rounded view of BPD, from a parent’s as well as from a clinician’s perspective.

I have helped patients and continue to do so; I have been helping families for many years; and perhaps most importantly, our family is solid and our adult child has a kind of hope and a life journey we could not have imagined.

My DBT Experience

Founder & Therapist
Families On The Line

Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work in Psychiatry (2015-present)
Yale University, School of Medicine
Along with supervising doctoral students in psychology, I also co-directed the Annual Yale –NEABPD conference in 2015 and 2016.

DBT Clinician
Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Intensive Outpatient Hospital
During my tenure at YNHH, I delivered group and DBT therapy to adults, adolescents and their families. During a part of that time I also co-directed the DBT program of the Yale New Haven Psychiatric Day Hospital.

Board member and (c) Family Connections Leader (2009-2018)
Executive Vice President (2017-2018)

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personalitydisorder
As part of this all-volunteer organization, I helped grow the Family Connections program from serving a few hundred families annually to serving thousands of families in over 20 countries. I facilitated classes for about 400 families; and trained class leaders internationally. I chaired the Family Connections committee on the board from its inception and for 7 years.

Julia Cardone M.ed, LMSW

Julia is a Licensed Master of Social Work who enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults. She has extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and brings her experience in Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavior Therapy to her work with individuals and families.

Prior to joining Families on the Line, Julia served as a practicum clinician within the Yale New Haven Hospital Intensive Outpatient Program, leading DBT skills groups, conducting mindfulness practices with groups, and providing therapy targeting emotional dysregulation. Julia also has experience working with children and adolescents and their families as a behavioral health clinician at Wellmore Behavioral Health in Waterbury, CT, where she engaged in both individual and family work. In addition, Julia has a strong interest in supporting those who grieve, and has received advanced training in providing Complicated Grief Treatment.

She is a Family Connections leader for the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder and is passionate about bringing skills and support to families via NEA-BPD weekend intensive workshops and classes for family members of those with emotional dysregulation difficulties.

Julia received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Brown University, followed by a Master’s in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She received her Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.

Alli Kalpakci, PhD

Alli has an expertise in working with individuals who experience intense emotions that often lead to problems in interpersonal relationships, risky or impulsive behaviors, self-harm and suicide, and intense self-criticism and hopelessness. She is passionate about working with individuals who have not previously found therapy helpful, and she is committed to genuinely and radically accepting her clients in order to help them experience real and measurable changes in their life.

Alli received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston and completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at Yale University School of Medicine, specializing in using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in her work with adults and adolescents with borderline personality disorder and their families. Her relevant clinical training includes intensive fellowships at Yale New Haven Hospital Intensive Outpatient DBT Program, The Menninger Clinic, The DBT Center of Houston, the Adolescent Diagnosis Assessment Prevention Treatment Center, and the West Haven VA Outpatient Addiction and Recovery Services program. Alli also has an extensive research background and is a published author in peer-reviewed journals and books on borderline personality disorder, social cognition, emotional sensitivity, and the development of personality disorders.

In addition to DBT, Alli is trained in multiple therapeutic interventions including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Prolonged Exposure [PE], DBT-PE, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, CBT-SUD, and Mentalization-Based Therapy.

Hedy Kober

Hedy completed her doctoral degree in psychology at Columbia University, with a focus on cognitive and affective neuroscience. She is currently completing her respecialization in clinical psychology. Before Hedy joined Families on the Line, she trained at Yale’s Intensive Outpatient DBT program and at Shoreline Psychological Services. Hedy is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at Yale, where she is the Director of the Clinical & Affective Neuroscience Lab.

Hedy’s research work focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying emotion regulation strategies, and treatments for psychopathology more broadly (e.g., substance use disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders, and borderline personality disorder). Additional research focuses on the effects and neural mechanisms underlying mindfulness meditation and acceptance-based practices. In both areas, she has published extensively and has given national and international talks.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This