Transference-Focused Therapy (TFT)

TFT is a psychoanalytically-based approach emphasizing interactions between patient and therapist to rectify destructive patterns by identifying and addressing them as they come up during therapy.

Transference” is the psychoanalytic concept for importing our prior patterns of relationship (“internalized object relations”) into therapy, unwittingly projecting distorted negative perceptions onto others via crude defenses like splitting and projection. This happens in all relationships, but it is called “transference” when it takes place in therapy, and the analysis of transference is a hallmark of psychoanalysis.

TFT has been shown to be more effective than therapy as usual (Doering et al 2010), and to have a positive impact on attachment style while improving reflective function, critical for adaptive self-referential processing, and social function.

Treatment has been shown to improve structural problems in personality for BPD patients, replacing dysfunctional internal patterns (“internalized object relations”) with more adaptive ones by learning from and internalizing therapeutic interactions. Patients are better able to tolerate challenging situations, navigating difficult interpersonal interactions with greater mutuality—avoiding splitting and projection which drive feelings of abandonment and misunderstanding, ensuring relationship ruptures without the possibility of repair.

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