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Br J Med Psychol. 1999 Dec;72 ( Pt 4):429-45.

The identification and characteristics of the partially dissociated states of patients with borderline personality disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


A developmental and structural model of borderline personality disorder is described. Partial dissociation provoked by trauma and deprivation in childhood is seen to result in the persistence of separate self states. The characteristics of these and alternations between them are seen to account for the main features of the condition. The identification and characterization of states through clinical procedures and the use of the states grid are described and case illustrations are given. The states identified by the grid method in a series of 20 borderline patients are described and classified into six groups, named abuser rage, victim rage, passive victim, ideal, coping and zombie. The clinical value and nosological implications of the model and these findings are briefly discussed.

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