Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Manic-depressive illness-Diagnosis, Manic-depressive illness-Treatment, Self psychology, Diagnosis, Axis II, Sociopathy


My thesis will use case material from a patient with an emerging diagnosis of a major mental illness (Bipolar Disorder) to examine the intersection of mood, character, medical comorbidity, substance abuse, to better understand how these factors contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with a complicated, but in no way unique presentation, of this complicated and unique disorder. The case material utilized will be based on patient records and process recordings from our treatment sessions. The theoretical thesis structurally is comprised of an analysis of two bodies of knowledge, a phenomenon, and a synthesis. The first area I selected that frames the patient's clinical picture is the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. The second area selected for this thesis was self-psychology. Because of its emphasis on the selfobject transferences of mirroring, idealizing, and twinship and the developmental lines of healthy and unhealthy narcissistic development, self-psychology seemed an appropriate choice for the theory. I will end with recommendations for how the case could have been handled differently. My hope is that the thesis will prove thought provoking and that the material on the diagnostic process, treatment considerations, and cultural context will stimulate discussion.




iii, 89 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2008. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-74)