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Fonagy, P. Target, M. Gergely, G. Allen, J.G. Bateman, A.W. (2003). The Developmental Roots of Borderline Personality Disorder in Early Attachment Relationships: A Theory and Some Evidence. Psychoanal. Inq., 23(3):412-459.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 23(3):412-459

The Developmental Roots of Borderline Personality Disorder in Early Attachment Relationships: A Theory and Some Evidence Related Papers

Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA, Mary Target, Ph.D., George Gergely, Ph.D., Jon G. Allen, Ph.D. and Anthony W. Bateman, M.A., FRCPsych

The paper suggests a way of understanding borderline personality disorder in terms of the failure of a secure base. We begin with an account of optimal self-development in a secure attachment context, highlighting the importance of the caregiver's ability to help the small child think about his own and others' minds. This optimal self-development is crucial in developing the child's capacity for mentalization, which can enhance his resilience in the face of later trauma. We discuss the impact of attachment

trauma in later development, arguing that the extent of this impact depends on how well early attachment relationships facilitated the capacity for mentalization. We identify some of the consequences for the representations of the internal world of a failure of mentalization that may follow trauma in individuals made vulnerable by genetic predisposition or disorganized early attachment. We link these features to the clinical presentation associated with borderline personality organization. Finally, some of the necessary characteristics of successful psychotherapeutic treatment of borderline personality disorder are briefly considered.

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