Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


In this article, we present descriptions of four young women with relatively severe personality disorders. All four were in psychodynamic psychotherapy and all had the symptom of self-cutting. During their treatment, it became evident that their self-cutting had undergone a transformation and a new symptom had appeared in its place. In three, self-cutting was substituted by behaviors that we might call "cutting equivalents" and, in the fourth, by an enhanced self-reflective attitude and by journal-writing. We suggest that symptom-replacement for self-cutting may be common in its developmental course or in its course as it becomes influenced by psychotherapy, and that the replacement is sometimes, perhaps often, salutary.

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