The constructs derived from the evolutionary model may be described either as personality styles or personality disorders. Styles and disorders are distinguished in terms of their relative level of pathology: Personality styles shade gently into personality disorders, with styles falling in the normal range and disorders falling in the pathological range. Both are higher order constructs composed of personality traits. More significantly, styles and disorders refer to constructs that integrate the part-functions of personality, whereas traits are simple behavioral consistencies within the various personality domains or perspectives. The distinction between these two levels is essential. When viewing traits as unitary, clinicians have no impetus for assessing the subsidiary domains of personality, such as interpersonal conduct or cognitive style. The assessment process may be prematurely foreclosed by the conclusion that the subject is high on the trait of dependence, for example. In turn, this makes impossible more sophisticated forms of therapy such as potentiated pairings and catalytic sequences. Personality styles and disorders are operationalized in terms of the various perspectives on personality; traits are not.
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