We have seen from other posts I have published on this site that severe and protracted interpersonal (i.e. resulting from the child’s interaction pattern of interaction with parent/s or primary caregiver/s) trauma experienced during childhood greatly increases an individual’s chances of being diagnosed with a debilitating psychiatric condition in later life, including personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Indeed, such trauma experienced during childhood has the potential to adversely affect many areas of our personality and new research suggests that there are seven fundamental aspects of personality that, when they become disturbed, dysfunctional and maladaptive (e.g. due to childhood trauma), make up the foundations on which personality disorders may develop. (though, of course, to be diagnosed with any one particular personality disorder not all seven aspects of personality need to be functionally impaired. However, which of the seven aspects are impaired, and in which combinations, will contribute to the determination of the particular personality disorder).
THE SEVEN FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS:
Research carried out by Gutierrez et al. (2000) suggested that these seven fundamental aspects of personality were as follows:
- Compulsivity (related post: Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
- Disinhibition (related post: Childhood Trauma And The Development Of Impulse Control Disorders).
- Negative affect (related post: How Childhood Trauma Can Lead To Depression And Unhappiness In Adulthood)
- Psychoticism (related post: Psychosis: A Study On The Link Between Childhood Trauma And Psychosis)
ALTERNATIVE TO STIGMATIZING LABELS AND ENHANCEMENT OF PERSONAL INSIGHT:
The above is of particular interest as there is a growing feeling within certain sectors of the medical profession that, rather than labeling people with potentially stigmatizing labels (such as borderline personality disorder) it may be better from a patient’s point for the therapist to describe his/her difficulties with reference to the above seven personality aspects. This also has the benefit of providing the patient with specific personality traits and behaviours that s/he may benefit from working on and giving him/her greater insight into the source of his/her difficulties.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).