David Allen

David Allen, M.D.David Allen, M.D., Task Force Co-Chair (Level III)

David Mark Allen, M.D., F.A.P.A is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. He served as director of the residency training program there from 1992 to 2008. He recently started an active part-time private practice as well as seeing patients at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Memphis.

Dr. Allen has been thinking and writing about a unified theory of psychological functioning, personality, family functioning, neurobiology and culture since the early l980’s. He is the originator of Unified Therapy, a psychotherapy treatment paradigm for adult patients with self-destructive or self-defeating behavior patterns that pays specific attention to family systems issues. It was first described in his groundbreaking book, Unifying Individual and Family Therapies (since re-titled A Family Systems Approach to Individual Psychotherapy), first published in 1988.

Dr. Allen specializes in the treatment of individuals with borderline personality disorder from a family systems point of view, and is the author of several publications about the disorder. He is on the Board of Directors and was former treasurer of the Association for Research in Personality Disorders, and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. He lives with his wife Harriet in a suburb of Memphis and enjoys playing in a rock band and writing.



Allen, David M. (1988). A family systems approach to individual psychotherapy. Northvale, NJ, Jason Aronson, (Originally entitled, Unifying individual and family therapies). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Allen, David M. (1991). Deciphering motivation in psychotherapy. New York: Plenum Publishers.

Allen, David M. (2003). Psychotherapy with borderline patients: An integrated approach. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.

Allen, David M. (2010). How dysfunctional families spur mental disorders: A balanced approach to resolve problems and reconcile relationships. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Book Chapters:

Allen, David M. (1993). Unified therapy. In Stricker, G & Gold, J., (Eds.), Comprehensive handbook of psychotherapy integration (pp.125-137). New York: Plenum Publishers.

Allen, David M. (2005). Unified Therapy with BPD. In Freeman, A., Stone, M.H., & Martin, D., (Eds.), Comparative treatments for borderline personality disorder (pp 239-258). New York: Springer.

Allen, David M. (2006). Unified Therapy: Therapy with a patient with multiple Cluster B personality traits. In Stricker, G. & Gold, J., (Eds), A casebook in psychotherapy integration (pp. 107-120). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books.

Allen, David M. (2008). The neglect of contextual factors in studies of child sexual abuse: A commentary. In Smith, M., (Ed.), Child Sexual Abuse: Issues and Challenges (pp. 147-154). Nova Publishers.

Journal Articles:

Allen, David M. and Farmer, Richard G. (1996). Family relationships of adults with borderline personality disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 37(1), pp.43-51.

Allen, David M.. (1997). Techniques for reducing therapy-interfering behavior in patients with borderline personality disorder: Similarities in four diverse treatment paradigms. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 6(1), pp. 25-35.

Allen, David M., Kennedy CL, Veeser WR, Grosso T. (2000). An approach to teaching the integration of psychotherapy paradigms in a psychiatric residency seminar. Academic Psychiatry, 24(1), pp.6-13.

Allen, David M. (2001). Integrating individual and family systems psychotherapy to treat borderline personality disorder. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 11(3), pp. 313-331.

Allen, David M. (2002). Commentary on the ins and outs of enactment: A relational bridge for psychotherapy integration by Frank. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 12(3), pp. 287-293, 2002.

Allen, David M. and Whitson, S. (2004). Avoiding patient distortions in psychotherapy with patients with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 34(3), pp. 211-229.

Allen, David M., Abramson, H., Whitson, S., Al-Taher, M., Morgan, S., Veneracion-Yumul, A., Kondam, S., Goswami, Y., Mason, M. (2005). Perceptions of contradictory communication from parental figures by adults with borderline personality disorder: A preliminary study. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 46(5), pp. 340-352.

Allen, David M. (2006). Use of between-session homework in systems-oriented individual psychotherapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 16(2), pp. 238-253.