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Experiences of Compassion in Adults with a Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychological Reports
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)1326-1347
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/03/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The study explored experiences of compassion in adults with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to further the development of the construct of compassion in relation to BPD. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to develop themes from the narratives of six adults with a diagnosis of BPD. Five themes emerged: Emotional Connection to Suffering, Empathic Understanding, Prioritisation of Needs, A Model of Genuine Compassion and Developing Acceptance and Worth. Participants described the role of compassion in their difficulties, including the adverse impact of experiences of incompassion upon their sense of self. The themes were integrated into a model that highlighted a process of recovery through therapeutic encounters with others in which genuine compassion was modelled. In addition, barriers to compassion and factors facilitating the development of compassion emerged from the analysis and have implications for clinical practice.