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Buechler, S. (1996). Symposium: Interpersonal Approaches To The Borderline Patient—Introduction: Composing A Picture Of The Borderline Patient. Contemp. Psychoanal., 32:65.

(1996). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:65

Symposium: Interpersonal Approaches To The Borderline Patient—Introduction: Composing A Picture Of The Borderline Patient

Sandra Buechler, Ph.D.

THESE PAPERS ARE THE PRODUCT of the collaborative work of our peer supervision group. Our group has met weekly, for a period of eleven years. The members are: Mark Blechner, Sandra Buechler, Richard Gartner, John O'Leary, Allison Rosen, Robert Watson, and Kathleen White.

This series of papers evolved out of numerous clinical discussions. We feel that they all reflect our basic interest in the interpersonal context. That they approach the issue of the treatment of borderline conditions using differing therapeutic modalities adds, we believe, to the interest of the presentation.

Although our members share many similarities in theoretical outlook, it would have been astonishing if, from these papers, there emerged a single, consistent picture of how we see "the borderline." Any human being, borderline or otherwise, looks different, depending on the interpersonal context, so that the borderline as studied in his or her family could hardly emerge looking exactly the same as the borderline observed in the workplace. There should be differences, but there should also be some common threads, or else we would have to abandon the idea that "borderline" denotes a discernable, discrete syndrome. Perhaps our picture of the borderline is more like a cubist portrait than a traditional rendering. I believe that the profile emerging here has one face, but different features are emphasized, depending on the perspective from which it is viewed. For example, Dr. Blechner brings to the fore the borderline's tendency to project, implying that this need not destroy the treatment if it is handled imaginatively and with compassion. Dr. Watson and I extend our compassion to the therapist of the borderline, highlighting the binds, the confusion, the contradictory injunctions, the vulnerability inherent in this therapeutic task.


0010-7530/96 $2.00 + .05

Copyright 1996 W. A. W. Institute

20 W. 74th Street, New York, NY 10023

All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 32, No. 1 (1996)

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