An individual is said to have split a treating team when their differential behavior toward different members precipitates polarized feelings and opinions about their care and concomitant professional discord. Such a split can manifest in a number of ways, but commonly a staff team becomes organized into two starkly opposed groups. Individuals in these camps may come to have strong positive or negative feelings toward the patient and hold opinions about them that are radically different from those of their colleagues.
“Conflict can arise as a consequence of consumer splitting or projection, whereby the staff act out (externalize) the internal good-bad and blaming dynamics of the person with borderline personality disorder” (Horsfall, 1999, p.428)
“these patients selectively divide or split the nurses into good or bad persons. The conflicts and splitting of the nursing staff can carry over to the treatment team, and polarization of staff can occur, particularly as transference and countertransference reactions evolve” (Bland & Rossen, 2005 p.510).