WITH THIS CHAPTER, we begin a series of descriptions of people with different personality styles who were seen in brief psychotherapy. We will describe personality style as a repertoire of states of mind, self-concepts and patterns of relationships, and ways of coping with stress and defending against threat. This includes characteristic patterns of regulating perceptions, thought, feelings, decisions, plans, and actions.
This approach seeks to advance the contemporary psychiatric nomenclature, as exemplified by DSM-III. That manual does contain the concept of multiaxial diagnosis, which is in keeping with the types of formulations we present. However, it does not include the types of diagnostic observations of information-processing style that we will describe. We hope that DSM-IV may contain such aspects of typology, as the multi‐ axial system evolves to meet its present promise.
Our clinical examples relate to patients who would meet the criteria of either Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders or Adjustment Reactions of Adult Life on the first axis of DSM-III. The patients had intrusive and denial symptoms of stress response syndromes after the death of a parent. However, it is the second axis of DSM-III that contains descriptions of person