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personality disorders causes

DIMENSIONAL MODEL: personality disorders causes

Other health care professionals have developed models of personality based onvarious psychological theories. One dimensional model described by Costa and McCrae sees personality disorders as part of a continuum of normal personalitytraits. They describe a ‘five factor model’. The five core personality traitsidentified in this model are:

• neuroticism

• extraversion

• openness

• agreeableness

• conscientiousness.

In this model, personality disorder symptoms are seen as being at the extremesof these traits.

PROTOTYPICAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM: personality disorders causes

Millon and Davis (1995) developed a model known as the prototypical classificationsystem. This combines the strengths of the DSM classifications with the dimensionalsystem. The authors recommend the clinician asks both ‘how’ and ‘how much’questions regarding symptoms. Using this method, patients falling below the DSMclassification are still included in the model.

STRUCTURAL DYNAMIC CLASSIFICATION: personality disorders causes

Psychoanalysts describe the structural dynamic classification model. This model isbased on psychoanalytic character types and arranges personality on a structuralcontinuum: normal, neurotic borderline and psychotic (McWilliams 1994).

RELATIONAL CLASSIFICATION: personality disorders causes

Magnavita (2000) attempts to fit personality traits into a relational classification model.This model sees personality disorders as dysfunctional personality systems that existbetween interpersonal relationships. In other words, the symptoms develop withindysfunctional relationships and are then carried forward into subsequent relationships.

COGNITIVE MODEL: personality disorders causes

Beck and Freeman (1990) propose a cognitive behavioural understanding of personalitydisorder. This model conceptualises personality disorder as a set of core beliefsand dysfunctional assumptions that are consolidated into a personal schema, that isa mind set of core beliefs which influence our perceptions and the way we makesense of the world.

These faulty schemata are maintained by cognitive distortions leading to problematicbehaviours. The main advantage of this model is that it provides a frameworkwhich can be used to develop treatments. Cognitive behavioural therapy techniqueshave been identified as among the most effective interventions for the treatment ofpersonality disorder.

A SERVICE USER MODEL: personality disorders causes

Among service users with personality disorder, there is a view that personalitydisorder may be a type of long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. This way ofunderstanding personality disorder can be useful as it is a popular viewpoint amongservice users. It could be argued that trauma or severe distress can interfere withthe normal development of various personality traits and skills; this leaves open thepossibility of recovery. Once the trauma has been dealt with, the person can learnand experience personal growth and can develop skills and personality.

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