Last June, I had the pleasure of conducting an enlightening interview with Mariana del Hoyo, a dedicated and passionate psychiatrist who recently completed her residency. Our conversation focused on Mariana’s journey and her profound interest in Transference-Focused Psychotherapy. I am excited to share this experience with all of you.
Her educational background is diverse. Not only does she have a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine from UNAM but she as also completed a postgraduate degree in Rural Development from UAM Xochimilco, a postgraduate program in Competencies for Managing BPD from UIC Barcelona, and a specialization in Psychiatry at the National Institute of Psychiatry “Ramón de la Fuente” in Mexico.
Her fascination with TFP began during her psychiatric residency, where she was deeply intrigued by the wide-ranging symptomatology of personality disorders. It stood out as a powerful technique that empowers individuals who have experienced invalidation in the past, helping them recognize their capacity for self-reflection. She was particularly impressed by how TFP integrates the therapist’s introspection and tackles not only the complexities of borderline personality disorder, but also fundamental human concerns.
Throughout her journey, Mariana has actively sought additional training and education. She has completed theoretical courses offered by TFP-Group Mexico, the TFP course provided by the TLP group in Barcelona, and has attended seminars led by Dr. Otto Kernberg. These experiences have enriched her understanding of TFP and facilitated valuable connections with experts in the field.
Currently, Mariana’s professional activities include private psychiatric consultations, supportive psychodynamic therapy at the Fray Bernardino Psychiatric Hospital and collaborative research projects. She actively participates in research focused on studying behaviors and risk factors in young people with HIV, as well as research projects related to Borderline Personality Disorder and its clinical features.
One of the most profound impacts of TFP on Mariana’s practice has been the development of a holistic understanding of her patients’ symptoms and the cultivation of stronger therapeutic relationships. TFP allows her to use transference as a valuable source of information, providing insights into relational dynamics. She considers it vital to the success of psychiatric management and psychotherapeutic interventions when working with patients with significant psychopathology, such as Borderline Personality Disorder. It has transformed Mariana’s overall therapeutic practice by fostering deeper reflection in her interactions with patients.
Mariana’s dedication to TFP goes beyond her clinical practice. She aspires to conduct research that demonstrates the effectiveness of TFP in the Mexican population, recognizing the need for its wider adoption. Currently, the studies focus on gender differences in clinical presentation and symptoms among individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder in Mexico City.
Regarding the advantages and disadvantages of TFP, she emphasized its reflective and introspective nature, which allows for deeper engagement with patients and addresses the chronic sense of emptiness and identity diffusion. However, she acknowledged that TFP requires a longer training period and comes with a certain level of complexity.
That is why she actively participates in supervision, recognizing its pivotal role in her professional development. She is convinced that supervision has been invaluable in guiding her through challenging cases, providing diverse perspectives, and offering emotional support. It has also contributed to her understanding of significant moments in a therapist’s life and their influence on countertransference and transference dynamics.
Practicing TFP in Mexico presents unique challenges due to the complex social and economic context of the country. However, Mariana remains steadfast in her commitment to promote the use of TFP, conduct research, and provide high-quality care to her patients. She is truly an inspiration to all of us as we strive to provide the best possible care in less than ideal situations. Mariana’s story shows us how important it is to include some teaching about TFP in psychiatry residency programs. From that initial contact with TFP, Mariana has gone on to practice both standard and applied TFP and to begin important research.
I hope you had as much pleasure to meet her as I did.
Diana Téllez Quiroz, PhD
Diana Téllez has been working as a psychodynamic psychotherapist in Mexico since 2005. In 2009, she successfully completed a master’s degree program in psychotherapy for children, adolescents, and adults. She went on to earn a PhD in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from the Mexican Psychoanalytic Association in 2012.
She’s a certified TFP Teacher-Supervisor and has clinical practice in TFP since 2011. Since 2016, she is responsible for the Psychology department at a public hospital part of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) in Mexico City. She is also an active member of the Academic Committee of Mexico involved in the organization of multiple trainings and supervisions in TFP.