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Psychodyn Psychiatry. 2013 Fall;41(3):385-92. doi: 10.1521/pdps.2013.41.3.385.

Case presentation: long-term treatment.

Author information

  • 1Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, USA. glucksmanmd@optonline.net

Abstract

The long-term (14 years) psychodynamic psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy of a depressed, suicidal, self-mutilating female patient is described. Her diagnoses included Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Recurrent Major Depression. Treatment was punctuated with repeated hospitalizations for self-mutilation (cutting) and suicidal ideation. A major determinant for her psychopathology was sexual abuse by her father from ages 6 to 14. This resulted in feelings of guilt and rage that she repressed and acted out through self-mutilating and suicidal behavior. A prolonged negative transference gradually became ambivalent, then positive. This was associated with her internalization of the healing qualities of the therapeutic relationship. She also gained insight into the reasons for her need to punish herself. Her initial self-representation as unworthy and bad was transformed into perceiving herself as a worthwhile, loving person. This case illustrates the role of long-term treatment for a complex, life-threatening, psychiatric disorder.

PMID:
24001161
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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