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J Psychiatr Pract. 2008 Mar;14(2):94-104. doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000314316.02416.3e.

Emotion-focused principles for working with borderline personality disorder.

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St. John's Rehab Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


This paper discusses the function of emotion, its importance in the treatment of individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and the integration of emotion-focused therapy (EFT) principles in the psychotherapeutic management of patients with BPD. EFT principles involve emotional assessment; a strong therapeutic alliance as a necessary context for treatment; the therapeutic relationship as a bond that regulates affect through empathy, emotional validation, and interpersonal soothing; emotion-regulation; psychoeducation about emotional processes; the therapist as an emotional coach; and transforming emotion schemes as primary mechanisms of change. The authors discuss how EFT principles can be viewed as primary intervention strategies in the treatment of patients with BPD and how they can be incorporated into various psychotherapy approaches. Based on our experience, the integration of EFT principles into the therapy of patients with BPD shows promise as it has been helpful in targeting BPD symptoms, and is feasible and acceptable to patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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