Function of Bolstering

The individual who bolsters serves to shore up (i.e., potentiate and reinforce) the adaptive traits of the individual with a personality disorder, thereby reducing the expression of maladap-tive traits. An example of this would be offering positive reinforcement to the individual with Avoidant Personality Disorder for attending and participating in activities at a local senior center. If the person in his world who has served the functions of supporting, encouraging, or "bringing out the best" is lost, the expression of his personality disorder can be expected to become more apparent.

Another example of bolstering is the individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who is naturally limited in his capability to work mutually with others. Modeling and coaching can shape his efforts in a group project: His adaptive skills at being charming, perhaps, and definitely seeking the recognition of others, can be appropriately directed.

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