Dedicated to the Study and Treatment of Personality Disorders

The Center for Transference-Focused Psychotherapy

Handbook of Dynamic Psychotherapy for Higher Level Personality Pathology

Eve Caligor, M.D.
Otto F. Kernberg, M.D.
John F. Clarkin, Ph.D.
Published by
American Psychiatric Publishing, 2007

Offering a sophisticated introduction to a contemporary psychodynamic model of the mind and treatment, this book provides an approach to understanding and treating higher level personality pathology. It describes a specific form of treatment called "dynamic psychotherapy for higher level personality pathology" (DPHP), which was designed specifically to treat the rigidity that characterizes that condition. Based on psychodynamic object relations theory, DPHP is an outgrowth of transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) and is part of an integrated approach to psychodynamic treatment of personality pathology across the spectrum of severity—from higher level personality pathology, described in this volume, to severe personality pathology, described in a companion volume, Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality: Focusing on Object Relations. Together, they provide a comprehensive description of an object relations theory-based approach to treatment of personality disorders, embedded in an integrated model of personality.

As a guide to treatment, Handbook of Dynamic Psychotherapy for Higher Level Personality Pathology provides a clear, specific, and comprehensive description of how to practice DPHP from beginning to end, presented in jargon-free exposition using extensive clinical illustrations. The authors offer a comprehensive description of psychodynamic consultation that includes sharing the diagnostic impression, establishing treatment goals, discussing treatment options, obtaining informed consent, and establishing treatment frame. Throughout, the book emphasizes fundamental clinical principles that enable the clinician to think through clinical decisions moment-to-moment and also to develop an overall sense of the trajectory and goals of the treatment. Among the book's benefits:

  • Takes a diagnosis-driven approach, presenting a clear model of both the psychopathology and its treatment;
  • Explains underlying theory and basic elements of DPHP for those first learning dynamic therapy;
  • Offers an integrated, innovative synthesis of contemporary psychodynamic approaches to personality pathology and psychodynamic psychotherapy;
  • Describes goals, strategies, tactics, and techniques of the treatment to demonstrate its flexibility over a relatively long course of treatment;
  • Provides sophisticated discussion of integrating dynamic psychotherapy with medication management and other forms of treatment.

DPHP offers a broad range of patients the opportunity to modify maladaptive personality functioning in ways that can permanently enhance their quality of life. Handbook of Dynamic Psychotherapy for Higher Level Personality Pathology provides experienced clinicians with a hands-on approach to that method, and is also useful as a primary textbook in courses focusing on the technique of dynamic psychotherapy or in courses on psychodynamics.


2007 • 284 pages • ISBN 978-1-58562-212-2
Order here, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.