social icons graphic

Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders

In terms of psychopathology, the Personality Disorders are the most relevant classification for the therapist. DSM IV lists ten different personality disorders:

i)        Paranoid Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of distrust and suspiciousness such that others’ motives are        interpreted as malevolent.

ii)       Schizoid Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of           emotional expression.

iii)      Schizotypal Personality Disorder

is a pattern of acute discomfort in close relationships, cognitive or   perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behaviour.

iv)      Antisocial Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others. Most criminal behaviour is a result of this one, and the ‘psychopath’ is an extreme            example.

v)       Borderline Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and         affects, and marked impulsivity.

vi)      Histrionic Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking.

vii)     Narcissistic Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and lack of empathy.

viii)    Avoidant Personality Disorder

is a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity            to negative evaluation.

ix)      Dependent Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of submissive and clinging behaviour related to an excessive     need to be taken care of by others.

x)       Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

          is a pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism and control.

Each personality disorder is made up of between five and nine ‘traits’ rather than symptoms. We all have some of them. It is unusual to encounter a pure prototype of personality disorder. People more often present as a mix of at least two or three personality orientations.

Individuals with either Borderline or Narcissistic Disorder have the most fragility in their makeup and anyone with a ‘fragile sense of self’ needs very careful and skilful therapeutic intervention. Every therapist needs a thorough working knowledge of all the ‘traits’, in order to work effectively with clients by choosing the right approach. As therapists we are often called upon to carry out what is often referred to as: ‘Brief and Focal Therapy’, but some clients are so ‘damaged’ that what they really need is a long-term, healing and reparative relationship with an experienced and effective therapist, who has worked through his or her own pathology. Given that the client is willing to stay in therapy for a considerable time with a therapist, having the right qualities and skills, then it is possible totally to transform and become a complete, integrated, healthy, self-actualising personality.

Recent Posts