Adult survivors of sexual trauma often experience symptoms related to their childhood experiences that are analogous to many of the diagnostic criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This article examines these symptoms in the context of a trauma framework and postulates that mental health counselors need to consider if the symptomatic behaviors are more indicative of a post-traumatic response, specifically trauma reenactment. Recognizing self-harming behaviors in adult survivors as reenactments of childhood sexual trauma rather than characterological manifestations of personality deficits serves to improve the quality of care of such clients in that mental health counselors may then focus on the unresolved issues rather than personality restructuring. Thus, understanding clients from a trauma framework can minimize the stigma that is often associated with the diagnosis of BPD and provide a more objective treatment climate.
Trauma Reenactment: Rethinking Borderline Personality Disorder When Diagnosing Sexual Abuse Survivors
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Robyn L. Trippany, Heather M. Helm, Laura Simpson; Trauma Reenactment: Rethinking Borderline Personality Disorder When Diagnosing Sexual Abuse Survivors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling 1 April 2006; 28 (2): 95–110. doi: https://doi.org/10.17744/mehc.28.2.ef384lm8ykfujum5
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