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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Projective identification, Borderline personality disorder, Borderline personality disorder-Patients-Family relationships, Mentally ill-Family relationships, Families of the mentally ill-Psychology, Ogden, Thomas H, Mentalization, Parents


Projective identification is a ubiquitous relational construct. However, there is an increase in frequency and intensity of this dynamic in relationships with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This study focused on the experience of projective identification from the perspective of the parents of individuals diagnosed with BPD. In a one-time in person or telephonic interview, 22 parents were asked to describe an exchange when they felt "hooked," "stuck," or "trapped," and to identify factors that made the exchange better or worse. The primary design was a modified version of grounded theory using the constant comparative method. Thomas Ogden's conceptualization of projective identification was used as a primary theoretical model. The findings showed that while Ogden's theory laid a foundation for understanding the parent's experience, the construct of mentalization added to the conceptualization of the experience of these parents, and the relational dynamic with their children.




iii, 200 p. Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 176-187)