A brief overview of transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP), developed by Otto F. Kernberg for the treatment of clients with severe personality disorders, is presented. The therapy begins with the development of a treatment contract, which consists of general guidelines that apply for all clients and with specific items developed from problem areas from the individual client's history that could interfere with the therapy process. The contract also contains therapist responsibilities. The client and therapist must agree to the content of the treatment contract for therapy to proceed. The client's affectively charged internal representations of previous relationships are consistently interpreted as the therapist becomes aware of them in the therapeutic relationship, that is, the transference. There are specific strategies and techniques used in TFP; however, more important are the guiding principles used throughout the treatment. A case is presented to illustrate aspects of this therapy as applied to a client with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
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