Borderline Personality Disorder And Insecure Attachment

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Borderline Personality Disorder and Insecure Attachment Melanie Countee Marymount University Abstract Borderline Personality Disorder is marked by maladaptive personality traits including chaotic interpersonal relationships, poor impulse control, and emotional instability. Theorists and clinicians have suggested that attachment based theories provide a framework to understanding and assessing BPD etiology. Links between insecure attachment along with abuse and neglect are relevant casual factors in the development of this personality disorder. Keywords: abuse, attachment, borderline personality disorder, mentalization Borderline personality disorder refers to “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships,…show more content…
Although patients with Borderline Personality Disorder are considered difficult to treat, treatment approaches include psychotherapy, transference-focused psychotherapy, and mentalization-based therapy. Etiology of Attachment Attachment theories provide a framework to understanding and assessing BPD etiology. Psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth completed the first attachment studies in the mid 1900’s. Bowlby defined attachment as “an affectional bond that a person forms with a differentiated and preferred individual or an attachment figure who is approached in times of distress”. According to Bowlby, the quality of childhood relationships with caregivers results in mental representations or “internal working models” of self and others. These representations include beliefs of self and others are believed to organize personality development, and subsequently, direct and shape future relationships. Mary Ainsworth’s studies on infant attachments in Uganda and the United States were instrumental in identifying attachment styles in infants. Her 1978 study titled Strange Situation, consisted of a series of infant–caregiver separations and reunions, in which researchers observed the behavior that the infant displayed. Based on the observations three distinct or styles of attachment were established: secure, avoidant, and ambivalent (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall,
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