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McDougall, J. (1996). Un Bouclier Dans L'Economie Des Etats Limites: L'Espoir, Collection: Le Fait Psychanalytique. By Anna Potamianou. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1992, 160 pp., FF. 128.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1295-1298.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:1295-1298

Un Bouclier Dans L'Economie Des Etats Limites: L'Espoir, Collection: Le Fait Psychanalytique. By Anna Potamianou. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1992, 160 pp., FF. 128.

Review by:
Joyce McDougall

This fine psychoanalytical work, written by one of Greece's leading psychoanalytic thinkers, is centered on the dynamic meaning and psychic economy of so-called borderline patients. Potamianou's many years of research have led her to be interested in the capacity of borderline individuals to invest relationships with meaning and, more particularly, in their fragile tendency to sudden disinvestment of significant object relations. The reader is led to reflect on the complex psychic structure of borderline patients, particularly when neurotic defenses appear to be an important part of the overall clinical picture.

This type of patient is the focus of Potamianou's latest book. She seeks to demonstrate the way in which the analytic situation can be structured in order to prevent serious regression and the profound disinvestment of internal or external reality to which these patients are particularly liable. An important characteristic of these analysands is their extreme narcissistic vulnerability, frequently allied with a grandiose self-image and fantasies of omnipotence. Although their narcissistic pathology does not lead to a profound disorganization of the ego, one can observe different forms of fragility in the ego structure. The author points out that extreme expressions of the underlying pathology frequently come to light in the course of the analytic process. The important factor here is the revelation that severe psychic pathology is frequently masked by the manifest neurotic symptoms.

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