The purpose of this paper is to explore the lived experience of having a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in a forensic setting.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight women with a diagnosis of BPD in private secure units. The interview data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).
Four main themes emerged: identity, power, protection and containment, and confusion. The themes of identity, power and protection and containment represented polarised positions which in turn contributed to the theme of confusion.
There are limitations to this study mainly the heterogeneous nature of the sample. However, good quality control and the similarities with previous findings indicate that this study makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of BPD in a forensic setting. In addition it has implications for further research; exploring sense of self and the differences between a sample from a community and a sample from a forensic setting with a diagnosis of BPD.
For practitioners to acknowledge power dynamics and to be able to formulate and address these with patients with a diagnosis of BPD.
This is the first IPA study to ask women with a diagnosis of BPD in a forensic setting what their experience is. It is a qualitative study due to the need to genuinely explore the topic and to provide a basis for others to conduct further research.
First and most importantly the authors would like to thank the eight participants who took the time and courage to speak openly with them. Each time the authors listen to their tapes or read their transcripts they are moved by their experiences and their willingness to share these with them. The authors are grateful to Partnerships in Care and particularly the psychology department for facilitating access to participants. All financial funding was provided by The University of Sheffield.
Jade Lovell, L. and Hardy, G. (2014), "Having a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder in a forensic setting: a qualitative exploration", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 228-240. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-01-2014-0003Download as .RIS
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