Looking Through the Windshield: An Intersubjective Approach to the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski

Second Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuña

Third Advisor

Robinette Bell


Intersubjective systems theory, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Sexual Trauma


This single-case study presents the treatment of a middle-aged male with avoidant personality disorder, major depressive disorder, and a childhood history of severe physical and sexual trauma. Treatment utilized an intersubjective systems approach, with a focus on affect attunement , empathic listening and responding, and understanding organizing principles and how they influence present relations. The patient's improvements in several domains of life evidenced the utility of an intersubjective approach with a patient who has difficulty effectively relating. Therapist observation and patient self-report were used to assess psychological and behavioral change. The patient's professional and interpersonal functioning reflected stability and improvement upon termination of treatment.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


27 pages

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