Psychodynamic Explanation of BPD

On these pages below I describe psychoanalytic understandings of borderline conditions and how to cure them. Psychoanalysts understood Borderline Personality Disorder as a way of relating or functioning at an early (child-like) developmental level, not as a life-long “mental illness”. They were optimistic about healing and recovery, and that is what I want to convey:

#9: The Fairbairnian Object-Relations Approach to BPD
– This page covers Ronald Fairbairn’s psychoanalytic explanation of borderline states, introducing the concepts of attachments to good objects and bad objects, and describing how a predominance of “bad” interpersonal experience leads to a state of developmental arrest that is mislabeled Borderline Personality Disorder.

#10: Four Phases of BPD Treatment and Recovery
– This essay describes the four phases of BPD treatment and recovered outlined by Harold Searles and Jeffrey Seinfeld: Out-of-Contact, Ambivalent Symbiosis, Therapeutic Symbiosis, and Individuation phases. Of everything I read, these phases represent the most penetrating and insightful way of understanding borderline states.

#15: Heroes of BPD – Gerald Adler
– Here I described the master psychodynamic psychotherapist Gerald Adler’s understanding of BPD. His work exemplifies the “deficit” approach to understanding borderline states (as opposed to the “conflict” approach), i.e. the way that BPD can be understood as a quantitative surplus of negative internalized memories overlaid onto a deficit of positive experiences.

#18: Heroes of BPD – Jeffrey Seinfeld
– This is a long case example of a woman, Kim, who was diagnosed with BPD and who Jeffrey Seinfeld treated successfully. How the “four phases” of BPD recovery evolved in Kim’s treatment is described, and the concepts of the rejecting object, exciting object, and good object clarified.

#20: Splitting Explained and Thoughts on DBT
– This article gives three real-life examples of how splitting works; splitting being one of the crucial defensive operations underlying borderline functioning. Also, I give my opinon that longer-term psychodynamic therapy is better for understanding and overcoming splitting than DBT, which can tend to overfocus on symptom management.

#23: The Borderline-Narcissistic Continuum – A Different Way of Understanding Diagnosis
– This introduces Donald Rinsley’s continuum-based way of understanding “mental illnesses” as early (child-like) ways of relating or functioning. It explains how healthy children pass through these phases sequentially to become mature adults, but when children become emotionally stuck in one or another phase, “mental illnesses” or frozen states of primitive destructive relating/functioning result.

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