Navigating the Complex Terrain: Effective Therapies for Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is one of four personality disorders characterized by erratic behaviors, emotional instability, and impulsivity. The main traits of ASPD involve a lack of conformity to social norms, a lack of respect for the law, and regular breaking of the law, as well as regularly deceiving or manipulating others for personal gain or profit and no remorse for any of it. 

Without antisocial personality disorder therapies, unchecked traits could result in:

  • Patterns of impulsivity that result in relationship changes, moving unexpectedly, not going to work, and quitting without notice.
  • Getting into physical fights.
  • Engaging in reckless behavior and harming others or oneself because of reckless behaviors. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, it is important to find the best therapy for antisocial personality disorder to address antisocial behaviors and improve overall functioning.

Therapy for Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

There are several promising antisocial personality disorder therapies, and if you are struggling with ASPD, it is in your best interest to consider one or more of the options below and to work with a therapist regularly until you find the best antisocial personality disorder behavior therapy for your situation. 

-Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Of the many antisocial personality disorder therapies, CBT is the most common. This is a type of talk therapy that focuses on changing the way you think and, by extension, the way you behave. cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes a deeper understanding of the relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and actions and how changing one can change the other’s respectively. 

-Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

An offshoot of CBT is DBT, another popular therapy for antisocial personality disorder. With this type of therapy, you focus on skills like:

  1. Emotional regulation
  2. Interpersonal effectiveness
  3. Distress tolerance
  4. Mindfulness 

Given the overlap in things like social skills and mindfulness, it’s not uncommon for this type of therapy for antisocial personality disorder to be combined with mindfulness therapy or social skills.

-Schema Therapy

Schema therapy explores childhood causes or contributing factors to maladaptive coping styles and the common traits associated with antisocial personality disorder. Working with a therapist can help you identify issues of emotional inhibition, mistrust, or aggression resulting from your early childhood and recognize the role that plays in your symptoms today. Over time, you can work to find a way to get beyond those childhood factors and the influence they have. 

The biggest benefit to this type of therapy or similar psychotherapy is the opportunity to talk through traumatic experiences from your childhood, like having absent or abusive parents. This provides an opportunity to review those past events, work through them, and move forward in an effective and helpful fashion.


In some cases, pharmacotherapy is an ideal addition to antisocial personality disorder therapy. This is where you get prescriptions for certain medications that can help with specific symptoms. Pharmacotherapy is best when used in conjunction with talk therapy like CBT or group therapy.

Medications might include things like antipsychotics, antidepressants, or mood stabilizers, all three of which can help you cope with your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Group Therapy

-Group Therapy

For many people, group therapy is a good tool to have in conjunction with individual therapy. Group therapy sessions offer social support which is a great way to practice skills learning to treat ASPD. It is also a place to learn from others who have the same disorder or who have struggled with the same symptoms. 

During group therapy, you can learn ways to effectively address challenges in your life or work through issues related to maladaptive coping styles you may have learned from the past or previous experiences. You can also gain opportunities to share with people who understand what you’re going through and learn from them.

For some people, group therapy also extends to family therapy. Family therapy sessions are an opportunity not just to learn your triggers but to teach family members how to set clear boundaries on behaviors that are permitted and not permitted while also learning how to create a deeper connection and show compassion to the family member struggling with antisocial personality disorder.

-Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is similar to schema therapy in that it helps you understand the relationship between your past experiences, though not strictly related to childhood like schema therapy, and the mindset you have currently. When applied to antisocial personality disorder, this type of Freudian therapy can help you understand the influence of your previous experiences on the way you think and behave in the present.

-Motivational Interviewing

If you are struggling to find the motivation to get help for your symptoms, motivational interviewing may be the best therapy for antisocial personality disorder. It is also better when used as the first of many or in conjunction with other therapies. 

-Social Skills Training

Social skills training is an evidence-based practice that is often used in conjunction with traditional talk therapy. The idea behind social skills training is exactly as the name suggests: you work to improve your social skills, developing the skills that can help you better control your impulsivity or reckless behavior and improve your overall function.

-Mindfulness-Based Interventions

Alternatives, also evidence-based, include mindfulness-based interventions that can complement antisocial personality disorder behavior therapy. These interventions are designed to keep you grounded in the present moment, more mindful or aware of all of your emotions and how those emotions change the way you feel mentally or physically. 

Overall, there are several types of antisocial personality disorder therapies available, and it might take several months or years to find a combination of treatments that work best for you. What matters most is that you take the time to try different options, including things that help you work through childhood trauma or provide social skills opportunities. 

Summing up

An exploration of effective therapies for Antisocial Personality Disorder can help you determine which treatment options might improve your overall function and control your tendencies. What is most important is to get individualized treatment plans tailored to the unique needs and preferences of each patient. Speak with a qualified therapist today to get started with antisocial personality disorder therapy.