The Integration of Character Structure and Personality Organization


  • Ann Coleman



personality organization, character structure, psychoanalysis, PDM-2, circumplex model, sense of self


Theories of both Personality Organization (PO) and Bioenergetic Character Analysis (BA) are born from Psychoanalysis. Due to the influence of a medical model of understanding and treating mental health disorders PO and BA have been taught and developed separately. This article explains PO to the Bioenergetic audience, via the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, Second Edition (PDM-2), and proposes a circumplex model for how to integrate the two theories. A psychoanalytic understanding of how people can organize their sense of self in a borderline or psychotic way is described, in contrast to a medical model of viewing borderline and psychotic experiences as discreet disorders. A concept of the self is defined and provides the basis for the integration of theories. Dynamics and traits for borderline and psychotic organization are described and contrasted so that a clinician can identify the difference between the two. A case study is presented to demonstrate how the integration of the two theories looks in practice.

Author Biography

Ann Coleman

Ann Coleman, LMSW, CBT, is a former IIBA board member and former treasurer for NANZIBA. She is a clinical social worker in private practice in metro Detroit Michigan. Ann is currently an assistant trainer working towards local trainer status with the Massachusetts Society training program, and has facilitated many educational workshops at North American conferences. Her perspective is drawn from years of work in juvenile detention and psychiatric systems that served people with severe and persistent mental illness. She has a special affinity for addiction recovery and it’s co-occurrence with mental illness.
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How to Cite

Coleman, A. (2024). The Integration of Character Structure and Personality Organization. Bioenergetic Analysis, 34(1), 55–81.