The interpretive process in the psychoanalytic psychotherapy of borderline personality pathology

J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2009 Apr;57(2):271-301. doi: 10.1177/0003065109336183.


While all patients become more concrete in their psychological functioning in areas of conflict, especially in the setting of transference regression, in the treatment of patients with severe personality pathology this process poses a particular clinical challenge. In the psychoanalytic psychotherapy of patients with severe personality pathology in general, and borderline personality disorder in particular, the interpretive process serves multiple functions. This process comprises a series of steps or phases that can be viewed as moving the patient further away from a single, poorly elaborated, and concrete experience in the transference, which dominates and floods subjectivity, and toward more fully elaborated, complex, stable, and integrated representations of the analyst and of what he or she evokes in the patient's internal world.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology
  • Dissociative Disorders / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Object Attachment
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychoanalytic Interpretation*
  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods*
  • Transference, Psychology