Dedicated to the Study and Treatment of Personality Disorders

The Center for Transference-Focused Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality
Focusing on Object Relations

John F. Clarkin, PhD
Frank E. Yeomans, MD, PhD
Otto F. Kernberg, MD


New Edition

Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality: Focusing on Object Relations

For therapists treating patients with borderline personality organization, transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) has proven to be a remarkably successful approach that effectively targets the pathology of character. The product of more than 25 years of development, it draws on advances in object relations theory and attachment theory with the goal of not merely treating symptoms but changing the patient's underlying personality and quality of life.

Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality describes principles of intervention and contains a wealth of practical guidelines on how to apply TFP to individual patients on a session-by-session basis. This groundbreaking treatment manual focuses on the analysis of the transference, showing how to help patients relax their defenses and become active participants in the therapeutic process. The authors describe techniques for seeing past the wall of behavioral and cognitive dissonance typically thrown up by the borderline patient, identifying a patient's conflicting self-conceptions and object representations, and immersing oneself in the turbulent currents of the borderline narrative stream while maintaining the clinical distance required to be a constructive force in patients' lives.

Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality: Focusing on Object Relations in Chinese
Book available in Chinese and
other languages

  • For each phase of treatment-assessment, early treatment, midphase, advanced phase, and termination-the authors describe the tasks of the therapist and the sequence of responses by the patients
  • Session descriptions are included to illustrate treatment in progress
  • A separate chapter addresses specific issues in treatment, including crisis management for suicide threats and aggressive behavior
  • Recognizing that patients with BPO start treatment at different points of their pathology, the authors provide an expansive description of the treatment course with high-level and low-level BPO patients, making the book relevant to a wide range of clinical situations

This volume also reflects not only the authors' ongoing experience with TFP in other clinical sites, showing how it can be used in diverse cultural settings, but also research that helps precisely identify the course and type of changes resulting from TFP. Brimming with insights garnered from years of successful clinical application, Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality will sharpen the skills of those already familiar with TFP and introduce others to a trailblazing approach to therapy.


Preface. The nature of borderline personality organization. Treatment of borderline pathology: the strategies of transference-focused psychotherapy. Techniques of treatment: the moment-to-moment interventions. Tactics of treatment: laying the foundation for the techniques. Assessment phase, I: clinical evaluation and treatment selection. Assessment phase, II: treatment contracting. Early treatment phase: tests of the frame and impulse containment. Midphase of treatment: movement toward integration with episodes of regression. Advanced phase of treatment and termination. Common treatment complications. Changes processes in transference-focused psychotherapy: theoretical and empirical approaches. References. Index.

Ordering Information

2006 • 411 pages • ISBN 1585622109
American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.