This article provides a contemporary view of the psychodynamics of
borderline personality disorder (BPD) from a developmental psychopathology
perspective. We first briefly describe the evolution of the borderline
construct in psychoanalysis and psychiatry. Then we provide clinically and
empirically informed model of domains of personality function and
dysfunction that provides a roadmap for thinking about personality
pathology from a developmental psychopathology standpoint and examine the
nature and phenomenology of BPD in terms of these domains of functioning.
Next, we describe prominent dynamic theories of etiology of BPD and
examine these in relation to the available research. Finally, we describe
psychodynamic conceptions of treatment and the way BPD phenomena manifest
in treatment, followed again by consideration of relevant research,
particularly on transference–countertransference constellations
empirically identified in the treatment of patients with BPD.Preparation of this article was supported in
part by NIMH Grants R01-MH62377 and R01-MH62378.