A Repertory Grid Study Investigating Factors Associated With Treating People Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): the Construct of Illness and the Therapeutic Relationship
Dunne, Emma Catherine
People diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have been subjected to stigma and told that their difficulties are untreatable. Although recovery is now understood to be possible for this client group, much controversy exists around whether BPD is, in fact, an illness. The implications of this belief have not yet been explored from the perspective of the client. Furthermore, little research has attempted to deconstruct what constitutes the therapeutic alliance for people diagnosed with BPD and their clinicians from a Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) perspective. The present research study therefore aimed to explore what impacts on the recovery of people diagnosed with BPD. This included investigating the impact of the construct of illness and the therapeutic relationship. The research employed a correlational and non-randomised design, using a cross-sectional approach. The Repertory Grid technique was used among a sample of 20 clients diagnosed with BPD and their clinicians. Relevant questionnaires were also administered to ascertain BPD symptomatology and the perceived quality of the therapeutic relationship. Among findings, a statistically significant correlation is presented for the association between a poor therapeutic relationship and increased BPD symptoms. Evidence (in the form of a borderline significant correlation) is also revealed to suggest that clients diagnosed with BPD construe fewer benefits from psychological therapy when they consider the well – ill construct to be more important (i.e. superordinate). The results provide new information with regard to the treatment of people diagnosed with BPD.