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Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Culture, Gender, Borderline personality, Borderline personality disorder, Gender identity, Psychotherapist and patient, Psychotherapists-Attitde, Culture-Psychological aspects, Borderline personality disorder-Etiology, Borderline personality disorder-Treatment


This qualitative study investigates the ways in which culture, gender, and language inform the clinical subjectivity of licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and psychologists working with women that present with behaviors associated with BPD as ascribed in the DSM III-V. Psychiatrists who produced BPD argue there is a biological basis to the diagnosis, which has never been proven. The majority of literature on BPD primarily focuses on the patients’ behaviors that may meet the legally codified criteria. However, little scholarship is published about the counter-transference and cultural bias of psychotherapists while diagnosing, treatment planning, and using appropriate clinical interventions. Furthermore, the BPD literature leaves Western culture, gender, race, and class untroubled, as such the label more stigmatizing to women than clinically useful.




iv, 62 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-57) Master of Social Work--Smith College School for Social Work, 2019.