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Changing life stories: how treatment affects communion by people with a personality disorder

Jasper, J. (2017) Changing life stories: how treatment affects communion by people with a personality disorder.

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Abstract:Background: Social relations with others, including feelings of unity, solidarity and attachment (communion), are a fundamental part of humans’ everyday lives and necessary for personal growth and wellbeing. This study investigates the life stories of patients with personality disorders in order to compare their (positive and negative) schemes of social experiences before and after a cognitive-behavioral clinical treatment. The purpose of this study is to examine to what extent treatment is related to positive changes in patients’ life stories of their social experiences. Methods: In order to evaluate the various manifestations of the theme communion in the patients’ life stories, a qualitative analysis was conducted. For the qualitative analysis, a codebook was developed, using a deductive and an inductive approach. By means of the codebook and the software program Atlas.ti (8), it was analyzed whether the quality of the theme communion changed during treatment. A paired samples t-test was conducted to analyze whether the differences of the main codes of communion before and after the treatment are significant. Results: The theme communion is present in the life stories in various manifestations. The patients mention in their stories experiences concerning the presence of others, the feeling of being attached to others and to interact with empathy (presence of communion). Moreover, the patients also mention experiences concerning a lack of others and attachments (absence of communion) and traumatic experiences. Patients also mention experiences with “too much” communion. It is striking that the content of the life stories, written after treatment, is more future-oriented and self-referential, compared to the stories written before treatment. In addition, the patients attribute diverse meanings to their experiences with communion. Based on the results of the quantitative analysis, it can be concluded that there are no significant changes during the treatment in the presence of communion, absence of communion and too much communion in the life stories of the patients. Conclusions: Using the narrative approach to evaluate the theme communion in life stories is an appropriate way to analyze whether dysfunctional (interpersonal) schemes of patients changed during treatment. The results of this study can be used to encourage the patients to draw attention to their different (negative and positive) schemes they can have about social relations, in order to foster a more positive attitude towards themselves and others. Additional studies are needed to investigate the differences between the life stories and the theme communion of healthy persons and those with a personality disorder.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/73919
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