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Case Study: Borderline Personality Disorder

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Case Study: Borderline Personality Disorder

Lisa Bean, Priscilla Fleming, Bethany Hyer, and Daniel Philp

PSYCH/515-Advanced Abnormal Psychology

September 24, 2012

Jack Colyar, Ph.D


According to Dr. Arthur Kohn, "borderline personality disorder consists of a set of emotional and behavioral traits including impulsivity, anger, and self-destructiveness that create distress for the individuals and for the people around them." Sometimes people with this disorder will experience episodes of extreme anger, depression, and anxiety. People with this disorder have various ways of coping with their emotions they may engage in impulsive behaviors, indiscriminate sex, or self-mutilation. Many often have unstable relationships because of self-doubt and lack of self-confidence.

Let's take a look at Becky who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. We will examine her major symptoms, background, what disposes her to this disorder, any observations that are inconsistent; we will discuss short-term and long-term goals for intervention, we will also discuss which therapeutic strategy and modality is appropriate for Becky's case.


Outline major symptoms of the disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by impulsivity, anger, self-destructive behaviors, and these thoughts and behaviors cause long-term difficulties for the patient. Those with Borderline Personality Disorder may have extreme anger, depression, and anxiety. Vacillating self-images (self-images that are constantly changing) is common for people with BPD. In order to cope with BPD one may have impulsive and dangerous behaviors, such as self-mutilation.

Briefly describe the client's background

Becky was raised in a Mormon household, but when she was 15, her family moved and stopped following the Mormon faith. Becky had many siblings, and was an avid attention seeker. When Becky was in second grade, she accused boys at her school of molesting her, this did not happen, just to get attention from her mother. Becky admits that during her childhood she told many lies and fibs, just to get attention from those around her. Becky says that when she was a child her mother, who was molested by her father, turned to her (Becky) for comfort in that she had to have constant reassurance that she was a good mother, and eventually she began telling Becky of all of her problems, even the intimate ones between Becky's mother and father. Becky states that she has only one friend that she was friends with for more than 2 years, due to her blocking her friends out after 2 years because they may actually see her for who she truly is. Becky began cutting herself when she moved into her own place, away from the family, and a television show made her sad, which set her off. Becky's personal beliefs on people are that people are stupid, mean, spiteful, and horrible. Becky also mentions during the interview that her mother's side of the family has mental illness.

Describe any factors for predisposition to the disorder

There are many factors that predispose Becky to Borderline Personality Disorder. The fact that Becky lied, a lot, in order to get attention, even when it could cause harm to other people is a sign. Becky's cutting, need for constant physical and emotional attention, and her constant need to fit in are factors. The fact that Becky's mother's family has mental illness history also predisposes Becky to a mental disorder such as BPD.


1. Describe symptoms that you observed that support the diagnosis of the individual.

Becky seems to be aware of what will set here off with friends and family members and she reported that she will not open up to anyone that will not open up voluntarily to here during a conversation. Becky seems to



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