Personality Case Study

Read therapy session notes from patient diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder. See what it's like living with Avoidant Personality Disorder.

Notes of first therapy session with Gladys, female, 26, diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder

"I would like to be normal" - says Gladys and blushes purple. In which sense is she abnormal? She prefers reading books and watching movies with her elderly mother to going out with her colleagues to the occasional office party. Maybe she doesn't feel close to them? How long has she been working with these people? Eight years in the same firm and "not one raise in salary" - she blurts out, evidently hurt. Her boss bullies her publicly and the searing shame of it all prevents her from socializing with peers, suppliers, and clients.

Does she have a boyfriend? I must be mocking her. Who would date an ugly duckling, plain secretary like her? I disagree wholeheartedly and in details with her self-assessment. I think that she is very intelligent. She half rises from her seat then thinks better of it: "Please, doctor, there no need to lie to me just in order to make me feel better. I know my good sides and they don't amount to much. If we disagree on this crucial point, perhaps I should start looking for another therapist."

A glass of water and mounds of tissue paper later, we are back on track. She dreads the idea of group therapy. "I am a social cripple. I can't work with other people. I declined a promotion to avoid working in a team." Her boss thought highly of her until she turned his offer down, so in effect it's all her fault and she has earned the abuse she is being subjected to on a daily basis. And, anyhow, he overestimated her capabilities and skills.

Why can't she interact with her co-workers? "Well, that's precisely what we are supposed to find out, isn't it?" - she retorts. Everyone is too critical and opinionated and she can't stand it. She accepts people as they are, unconditionally - why can't they treat her the same way? She fantasizes about getting married one day to a soulmate, someone who would love and cherish her regardless of her blemishes.

I ask her to describe how she thinks she is being perceived by others. "Shy, timid, lonely, isolated, invisible, quiet, reticent, unfriendly, tense, risk-averse, resistant to change, reluctant, restricted, hysterical, and inhibited." That's quite a list, I comment, now how does she view herself? The same, she largely agrees with people's perceptions of her "but it doesn't give them the right to ridicule or torment her just because she is different."

This article appears in my book, "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited"

next: The Histrionic Patient ~ back to: Case Studies: Table of Contents

Last Updated: 06 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD


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The word personality refers to the overall outcome of what a man is.Personality development means developing a personality cult so as to create a strong positiveimpression about yourself. Or Personality development is the development of the organizedpattern of behaviors and attitudes that makes a person distinctive. Personality developmentoccurs by the ongoing interaction of temperament ,character, and environment. Personalityconstitutes of various elements like intelligence, physique, temperament, patience etc. All theseelements lead to a good personality. In the field of management personality plays a key role incareer building and success. The personality development has become a vital constituent of asuccessful person. People undergo personality development programmes in order to improvetheir personal skills and thereby enhancing their personality. Personality is somewhere eternaland it is mainly dependant on the atmosphere in which a human being grows up.

Key elements of personality are :


Behavior: A stereotyped response to an internal or external stimulus.


Character: An individual's set of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns learnedand accumulated over time.


Cognition: The act or process of knowing or perceiving.


Cognitive: The ability to think, learn, and memorize.


Gene: A building block of inheritance, which contains the instructions for the productionof a particular protein, and is made up of a molecular sequence found on a section of DNA.


Identity: The condition of being the same with, or possessing, a character that is welldescribed, asserted, or defined.


Maturity: A state of full development or completed growth.


Socialization: The process by which new members of a social group are integrated in thegroup.


Temperament: A person's natural disposition or inborn combination of mental andemotional traits.

The degree of a person’s success is directly depe

ndant on the kind of personality he has. Thereare various key factors of a good personality and to enhance those characteristics of a humanbeing is actually called PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT. The basic characteristics of anultimate personality are :




Trustworthy, High integrity and Responsibility.

Knowledge, in depth.


Effective Communication & Efficiency.

Economic independence.

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