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Personality Theories to Borderline Personality Disorder

Compare and contrast two personality theories to Borderline Personality Disorder.

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1. Compare and contrast two personality theories to Borderline Personality Disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is a disabling, complex, heterogeneous disorder characterized by variable combinations of impulsive self-injurious behavior, affective instability, cognitive/perceptual symptoms, interpersonal difficulties and other symptoms. Great strides have been made in understanding the etiologies, neurobiology and longitudinal course of BPD. An evidence-based practice guideline has been developed for the disorder, and a growing number of studies demonstrate that carefully planned and administered treatment can be effective for many patients with BPD. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/53976?pageNumber=2

Definition: Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by a lack of ones own identity, with rapid changes in mood, intense unstable interpersonal relationships, marked impulsively, instability in affect, and instability in self image.

ONSET: Early adulthood and with a variety of contexts.

Diagnostic Criteria ( DSM-IV?) made easy.

1. Rapid changes in mood, intense unstable interpersonal relationships, marked impulsively, instability in affect, and instability in self image.

As indicated by at least five of the following:

1. Going to about any lengths to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
2. Intense unstable interpersonal relationships characterized by changing between idealization and devaluation the relationship.
3. Lack of ones own identity. A Marked instability of self image or the sense of self.
4. Impulsively in two or more areas that are self damaging. These may included abuse, sex, spending, eating, driving reckless, or etc.
5. Recurrent gestures, self mutilation, suicidal behavior, or threats.
6. Instability in affect.
7. Marked feelings of emptiness.
8. Frequent displays of anger due to a difficulty in control.
9. Dissociative or paranoid. (http://psyweb.com/Mdisord/jsp/bopd.jsp)

1. Psychodynamic theories of personality: Freud

Psychodynamic theories of personality links Borderline Personality Disorder to childhood trauma or poor object relations with primary caregivers, mostly the mother (see more below).

Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud (see http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/freudprofile.htm), and emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind and childhood experiences on personality. Psychodynamic theories include Sigmund Freud's psychosexual stage theory (see http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/ss/psychosexualdev.htm)and Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. Freud believed the three components of personality were the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is responsible for all needs and urges, while the superego for ideals and moral. The ego moderates between the demands of the id, the superego, and reality.

Borderline Personality disorder is a result of early childhood trauma, often sexual in nature, which memories have been repressed and disruptions to ego and object relations. There does not seem to be any consensus regarding the cause and treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. The outline presented below is not to be considered canonical. Some major identifying characteristics of the borderline are -

o Intense, unstable personal relationships
o Repetitive self-destructive behaviors
o Chronic fears of abandonment
o Chronic feelings of intense anger, loneliness, and emptyness


A theory of borderlines - An object in object relations theory

Otto Kernberg has postulated a theory of BPD based on a phenomenon he describes as splitting. It is based on a psyhcoanalytical theory known as object relations theory. I feel that his treatment makes sense whether one does believe in psychoanalysis or not. If you know of a better model, please tell me.

An object in object relations theory is an individual who is emotionally important. an individuals first objects are his or her parents; later, other members of the family, friends, lovers, etc. become objects in this sense.

To the infant, objects are his or her perceptions of other people, and there is one object for each important set of emotions related to each person. So a mother, say, is split in the infant's mind into a good mother who ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines two personality theories explaining Borderline Personality Disorder.