Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School Psychology

Abstract

The overall stigma- and gender-related controversies that surround the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) present a unique ethical mandate to the practitioner. The relationship between trauma and the BPD diagnosis strengthens the need for carefully designed treatment interventions in order to secure the benefits of trauma-focused work, while minimizing the risk of undue regression. The complexity and risk of harm introduced by a diagnosis of comorbid BPD and PTSD urges the need for clarification of optimal treatment interventions to guide practitioners. Trauma-focused therapies, particularly EMDR, tend to be the treatment of choice for PTSD; however, comorbid borderline pathology has been identified in the literature as a predictor of poorer treatment outcomes for EMDR, thus lending support for the selection of an intervention tailored to the unique needs of borderline patients, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The thoughtful and strategic use of therapeutic integration emerges as an empirically supported technique in the treatment of severely comorbid patients.

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