Hypermentalizing, Attachment, and Epistemic Trust in Adolescent BPD: Clinical Illustrations

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Abstract

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has been shown to be a valid and reliable diagnosis in adolescents and associated with a decrease in both general and social functioning. With evidence linking BPD in adolescents to poor prognosis, it is important to develop a better understanding of factors and mechanisms contributing to the development of BPD. This could potentially enhance our knowledge and facilitate the design of novel treatment programs and interventions for this group. In this paper, we outline a theoretical model of BPD in adolescents linking the original mentalization-based theory of BPD, with recent extensions of the theory that focuses on hypermentalizing and epistemic trust. We then provide clinical case vignettes to illustrate this extended theoretical model of BPD. Furthermore, we suggest a treatment approach to BPD in adolescents that focuses on the reduction of hypermentalizing and epistemic mistrust. We conclude with an integration of theory and practice in the final section of the paper and make recommendations for future work in this area.

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