Borderline Personality Disorder: Understanding the Unconscious Function of Deliberate Self Harm and Managing the Transference Relationship

Ideally a resource for clinicians and therapists, this book describes the value of using a psychoanalytic theoretical framework to explore and understand behavioural disturbance in patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It blends both theoretical and practical treatment considerations in working with BPD, using detailed case study presentations to demonstrate this material. It also provides a description of diagnostic procedures and the importance of recognising the transference relationship with patients diagnosed with this disorder. The psychoanalytic framework of moral masochism by Freud (1924/1961) is used to explore the unconscious function of deliberate self-harm behaviours. Case illustrations are offered to highlight the process by which to understand the patient's unconscious responses throughout treatment, and to appreciate the patient's experience of clinical care when a consideration of these unconscious processes is disregarded or not adequately acknowledged. Specific discussion is then offered on appreciating the role of the clinician in the therapeutic alliance in terms of the patient's prognosis. The role of the transference in the repetition of the patient's trauma, and therefore the occurrence of recurrent deliberate self-harm episodes during treatment, is then considered in detail