Transference focused psychotherapy: overview and update

Int J Psychoanal. 2008 Jun;89(3):601-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2008.00046.x.


This paper describes a specific psychoanalytic psychotherapy for patients with severe personality disorders, its technical approach and specific research projects establishing empirical evidence supporting its efficacy. This treatment derives from the findings of the Menninger Foundation Psychotherapy Research project, and applies a model of contemporary psychoanalytic object relations theory as its theoretical foundation. The paper differentiates this treatment from alternative psychoanalytic approaches, including other types of psychoanalytic psychotherapy as well as standard psychoanalysis, and from three alternative non-analytical treatments prevalent in the treatment of borderline patients, namely, dialectic behavior therapy, supportive psychotherapy based on psychoanalytic theory, and schema focused therapy. It concludes with indications and contraindications to this particular therapeutic approach derived from the clinical experience that evolved in the course of the sequence of research projects leading to the empirical establishment of its efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy
  • Empirical Research
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Object Attachment
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Disorders / therapy
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychoanalysis / methods
  • Psychoanalysis / trends
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods*
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / trends
  • Psychotherapeutic Processes
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Psychotherapy / trends
  • Transference, Psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome