Using transference-focused psychotherapy principles in the pharmacotherapy of patients with severe personality disorders

Psychodyn Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;43(2):181-99. doi: 10.1521/pdps.2015.43.2.181.


Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) is an evidence-based, manualized treatment for severe personality disorders. TFP provides clinicians with a comprehensive diagnostic approach, overarching theoretical orientation, and specific clinical techniques. While TFP was developed as a long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy for patients with personality disorders, the approach, orientation, and techniques used in psychotherapy treatment may be of use in pharmacotherapy with the same patients. Patients with borderline personality disorder, in particular, are high utilizers of all subtypes of psychotropic medication despite limited evidence for their effectiveness, creating multiple challenges for the prescribing clinician. The author suggests specific ways the TFP model can assist prescribers, including those who do not practice TFP psychotherapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / drug therapy
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Transference, Psychology*