Rachel J. Altman, Psy.D., is a 2024 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, Chairperson
  • Gina Pasquale, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Sabine Dorleans, PsyD, Committee Member


borderline personality disorders, transference-focused psychotherapy, clinician competence, transference, countertransference, suicidality, consultation, projective identification, splitting, evidence-based treatments, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychotherapists, identity diffusion, psychiatrists

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Empirical research on clinician experience of competency treating borderline personality disorder is scarce, and that which does exist focuses on the negative experiences of those who treat this population. Utilizing an interpretive phenomenological analysis approach, this qualitative research investigation explored the lived experience of feelings of competency in clinicians treating borderline personality disorder using the evidence-based model of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy. To better comprehend this phenomenon and address research questions, data were collected via one, semi-structured interview given to five different clinicians who practice Transference-Focused Psychotherapy. Four themes emerged from the researched data: Positive treatment outcomes for patients, Using negative countertransference for positive therapeutic intervention, Reliability of treatment framework, and Effectively dealing with crisis and suicidality. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


ORCID: 0009-0007-5684-8034


Altman, R., Ginsburg, T., Hawes, M., Rosenfield, P., & Galynker, I. (2018) Societal disconnection: A predictor for severe suicidal ideation in psychiatric patients. Presented at the Building Wellbeing Through Innovation Conference. The American Psychiatric Association. New York. [Poster Presentation].


Barzilay, S., Yaseen, Z. S., Hawes, M., Gorman, B., Altman, R., Foster, A., Apter, A., Rosenfield, P., & Galynker, I. (2018). Emotional responses to suicidal patients:Factor structure, construct, and predictive validity of the therapist response questionnaire-suicide form. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9.