Values in persons with borderline personality disorder: their relevance for the therapeutic interview

  • Milena Mancini | Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.
  • Giovanni Stanghellini Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy; D. Portales University, Santiago, Chile.


This is an explorative study on values of 25 patients affected by borderline personality disorder interviewed in a clinical setting (phenomenological-dynamic psychotherapy) and re-classified following Consensual Qualitative Research. We identified three main categories of values: recognition (the importance for attention, acknowledgment, commendation and acceptance by the other), authenticity (the importance of absolute emotional fusion with the other), and immediacy (the importance of instantaneous, hic et nunc satisfaction of one’s needs/desires). Each of these values expresses a kind of ‘logic’, namely the logic of intimacy (the other’s closeness as indispensable for defining oneself and establish/reinforce one’s selfhood and identity), spontaneity (over-reliance on feelings unrestricted by social norms undermining their intensity), and instantaneity (glorification of ‘now-moments’/execration of procrastination draining the vitality of feelings). The borderline person lives an emotional normativity constituted by the intensity of feelings under the spell of a frustrated normativity since they enter into a collision with the hypocrisy of common-sense ethical norms and social rules and conventions, as well as by potential conflicts with the feelings of the other. Acknowledging the values affirmed by borderline persons may help to better understand their condition - that is, to grasp ‘what it is like’ and make sense of the phenomena that affect them – and particularly to find a logic in their otherwise irrational and incomprehensible self-defeating behavior.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Fuchs, T. (2007). Fragmented selves: Temporality and identity in borderline personality disorder. Psychopathology, 40(6), 379-387. DOI:

Fulford, K. W. M. (1989). Moral theory and medical practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fulford, K. W. M. (1999). Moral theory and medical practice. Cambridge University Press.

Fulford, K. W. M., Peile, E., & Carroll, H. (2012). Essential values-based practice: clinical stories linking science with people. Cambridge University Press. DOI:

Gunderson, J. G., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2008). BPD's interpersonal hypersensitivity phenotype: A gene-environment-developmental model. Journal of personality disorders, 22(1), 22-41. DOI:

Hill, C. E. (2011). Consensual qualitative research: A practical resource for investigating social science phenomena. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Hill, C. E., Knox, S., Thompson, B. J., Williams, E. N., Hess, S. A., & Ladany, N. (2005). Consensual qualitative research: An update. Journal of counseling psychology, 52(2), 196. DOI:

Hill, C. E., Thompson, B. J., & Williams, E. N. (1997). A guide to conducting consensual qualitative research. The counseling psychologist, 25(4), 517-572. DOI:

Kendler, K. S. & Parnas (2012). Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry II: Nosology. Oxford University Press. DOI:

Kendler, K. S. & Parnas. J. (eds.) (2008). Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology, and Nosology. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kernberg, O. (1984). Severe personality disorders. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kimura, B. (1992). Ecrits de psychopathologie phénoménologique. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Kirk, S. A., Kutchins, H. (1992). The Selling of the DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Lingiardi, V., & McWilliams, N. (2018). Introduction to the special issue on the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, (PDM-2): The PDM: Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 35(3), 289. DOI:

Lingiardi, V., & McWilliams, N. (Eds.). (2017). Psychodynamic diagnostic manual: PDM-2. Guilford Publications.

Meares, R. (2000). Intimacy and alienation: Memory, trauma and personal being. Routledge.

Meares, R. (2012). A dissociation model of borderline personality disorder. New York, NY: Norton & Company.

Richardson, J. T. (Ed.) (1996). Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Psychology and the Social Sciences. Leicester: British Psychological Society.

Ricoeur, P. (2005). The Course of Recognition. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Rossi Monti, M. & D’Agostino, A. (2019). Dysphoria in borderline persons. In: Stanghellini G. et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Psychopathology (pp. 827-838). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sadler, J. Z., Hulgus, Y. F., & Agich, G. J. (1994). On values in recent American psychiatric classification. Journal of Medical Philosophy 19, 261–277. DOI:

Scheler, M. (1973). Formalism in ethics and non-formal ethics of values: A new attempt toward the foundation of an ethical personalism. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

Schielke, H. J., Fishman, J. L., Osatuke, K., & Stiles, W. B. (2009). Creative consensus on interpretations of qualitative data: The Ward method. Psychotherapy Research, 19(4-5), 558-565. DOI:

Schmidt, P. (in press). No Body? Disturbed Self-Experience in Borderline Personality Disorder. In: C. Tewes & G. Stanghellini (eds.) Time and Body. Phenomenological and Psychopathological Approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spitzer, R. L. (2001). Values and assumptions in the development of DSM-III-R: an insider’s perspective and a belated response to Sadler, Hulgus, and Agich’s “On values in recent American psychiatric classification.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 189, 351-359. DOI:

Stanghellini, G. (2004). The puzzle of the psychiatric interview. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 35(2), 173-195. DOI:

Stanghellini, G. (2013). Philosophical Resources for the Psychiatric Interview. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (Edited by K.W.M. Fulford, Martin Davies, Richard G.T. Gipps, George Graham, John Z. Sadler, Giovanni Stanghellini, and Tim Thornton), Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press; pp. 321-356).

Stanghellini, G. (2016a). Lost in Dialogue: Anthropology, Psychopathology, and Care. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. DOI:

Stanghellini, G. (2016b). Phenomenological Psychopathology and Care. From Person-Centered Dialectical Psychopathology to the PHD Method for Psychotherapy. In: G. Stanghellini & M. Aragona (eds.) An Experiential Approach to Psychopathology (pp. 361-378). Cham: Springer. DOI:

Stanghellini, G. (2018). L’amore che cura. La medicina, la vita e il sapere dell’ombra. Milano: Feltrinelli.

Stanghellini, G. (2019). The PHD Method for Psychotherapy: Integrating Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, and Psychodynamics. Psychopathology, 52(2), 75-84. DOI:

Stanghellini, G. (2020). Selfie. Sentirsi nello sguardo dell’altro. Milano: Feltrinelli.

Stanghellini, G., & Ballerini, M. (2008). Qualitative analysis. Its use in psychopathological research. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 117(3), 161-163. DOI:

Stanghellini, G., & Mancini, M. (2017). The therapeutic interview in mental health: A values-based and person-centered approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI:

Stanghellini, G., & Rosfort, R. (2013a). Emotions and personhood: exploring fragility-making sense of vulnerability. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. DOI:

Stanghellini, G., & Rosfort, R. (2013b). Borderline Depression A Desperate Vitality. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(7-8), 153-177.

Westen, D. & Cohen, R.P. (1993). The self in Borderline Personality Disorder: A psychodynamic perspective. In: Z.V Segal & S.J. Blatt (eds) The self in emotional distress: cognitive and psychodynamic perspectives. New York: Guildford Press.

Authenticity, borderline personality disorder, immediacy, phenomenological-dynamic psychotherapy, recognition, values
  • Abstract views: 449

  • PDF: 200
  • HTML: 0
How to Cite
Mancini, M., & Stanghellini, G. (2020). Values in persons with borderline personality disorder: their relevance for the therapeutic interview. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 23(1).