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Borderline Patients' quest for empathy: version 1

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Borderline patients' quest for empathy.



  • Contact name

    Mahin Golbandi-Nazif

  • Contact email

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    years, 11 months, days

  • Research summary

    This professional doctorate study explores whether individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) report an increased level of empathy after completing a year of treatment in a Therapeutic Community (TC).
    Individuals diagnosed with BPD have a poor empathic understanding of themselves and they cannot accurately read the thoughts and feelings of another person. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual - 5 (2013), characterised BPD as: manifesting impoverishment in the area of self-development and empathy.
    Empathy: ‘the power of projecting one’s personality into (and fully comprehending) the object of contemplation’ (Comprehensive Oxford Dictionary). The ability ‘to put oneself into the other’s shoes…implies that one is both feeling oneself into the object and remaining aware of one’s own identity as another person’ (Rycroft, 1968).
    A Therapeutic Community (TC) is ‘a culture of enquiry’ treatment setting consisting of psychotherapeutic group interactions that facilitate psychological exploration of self in relationship with others aiming towards gaining insight.
    The researcher’s hypothesis is that a desire to understand self/other is a life-long strivings for the borderline individuals. This study aims to examine if the participants identify an increase in empathic understanding of the self, following TC treatment.
    Six individuals will each take part in a one hour semi-structured interview. The interviews will be conducted individually, one per week for a period of six weeks. They will take place in the NHS premise of a TC with participants who are not known to the researcher. A research collaborator from the research setting will identify potential participants who are known to their service and will undertake recruitment.
    Qualitative methodology and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) will be employed to make sense of participant's reported experiences and the meanings they attach to such experiences (Smith,2004).

  • REC name

    East Midlands - Derby Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    24 Apr 2015

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion

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