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August 2022

Subjective theories of illness in patients with personality disorders: Qualitative comparison of twelve diagnostic interviews

Author(s): Reissner, V., Tress, W., Langenbach, M.

Journal/Book: Psychother Res. 1996; 6: 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Guilford Press. 56-69.

Abstract: We present a study of 12 psychotherapeutic intake interviews with patients suffering from severe personality disorder. Verbatim transcripts of the interviews were systematically examined by means of qualitative content analysis. The analysis was focused on the categories subjective theories of illness, biography, and patients' characterization of their personality. We found certain typifications and ideal types guiding the finding of a diagnosis. The type of personality prevailing in our study was characterized by an attitude of high ambitions, aiming at extreme goals and striving for self-realization. There were tendencies to expect too much of oneself and a feeling of failure to achieve. Patients talked about loss of the ability to control their impulses and tendencies to subordinate others or to be dominated by others. They usually avoided problems, isolated themselves, and withdrew from social contacts. Implications of our results, including a comparison with results of SASB (structural analysis of social behavior) studies on the subject, are discussed.

Note: Article J Frommer, Univ Dusseldorf, Inst Clin, Berg Landstr 2, D-40629 Dusseldorf, Germany


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