In this issue of our research digest, we focus on a very recent article from Eric Fertuck, Ph.D. and colleagues entitled:
Rejection Distress Suppresses Medial Prefrontal Cortex in Borderline Personality Disorder.
Dr. Fertuck is an Associate Professor of Psychology at CUNY, NY, a certified TFP supervisor and therapist, a psychoanalyst, as well as a member of ISTFP. The article investigates the neurobiological underpinning of distress related to social exclusion, often a core symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD). We chose to feature this article not simply because its result shed light on the biological underpinning of BPD, which is of course of interest for our community, but also because its methods are driven by the profound understanding of emotional processes that TFP, and psychoanalytic approaches, allow. By applying a deeper conceptual understanding of social rejection, Fertuck et al. help elucidate a biological mechanism that in the past has been investigated as a categorical, insular, function, leading to mixed results that have been difficult to replicate. We see this contribution as one of the first compelling papers utilizing awareness gained from the psychotherapy setting and psychoanalytic theory to deepen biological knowledge. This type of studies and approaches breaks the stigma of the absence of foundations in psychotherapy and psychoanalytic theory, likewise contributing to the scientific knowledge of clinical effectiveness through its different neurobiological mechanisms.
First, we will quickly review the results of Fertuck et al., to then focus on the creativity of their methodological strategy.