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Steiner, J. (1987). Essential Papers on Borderline Disorders: One Hundred Years on the Border: Edited by Michael H. Stone. New York: New York University Press. 1986. Pp. 580. $55.00.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:563-565.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:563-565

Essential Papers on Borderline Disorders: One Hundred Years on the Border: Edited by Michael H. Stone. New York: New York University Press. 1986. Pp. 580. $55.00.

Review by:
John Steiner

Michael H. Stone is a psychoanalyst and a psychiatrist with a substantial reputation in the United States, who has written a number of papers as well as a book on borderline disorders. He has edited and annotated this volume which is one of a series whose companions are: Essential Papers on Object Relations, Essential Papers on Narcissism, and Essential Papers on Depression. It is an interesting subject and an interesting book but I think it would be fair to say at the start that this particular selection, which covers a hundred years of papers on borderline disorders, does not lie comfortably under the general title, 'Essential papers in psychoanalysis'. It does not contain papers on psychoanalysis and certainly not Essential papers in psychoanalysis. Perhaps a selection of papers for the psychoanalytically informed psychiatrist would be more accurate.

The papers and the editor's comments on them reflect a view of the relationship between psychoanalysis and psychiatry which seems to me to represent a currently fashionable shift among psychotherapists away from the psychological to the biological. Moreover because our understanding of the biological basis of mental phenomena is still in its infancy the emphasis comes to focus on classification and diagnosis. The aim seems to be to clarify our categories in order to be ready for the biological discoveries which will one day underpin them.

This has been the philosophy of European psychiatry since Kraepelin and it is one which Freud was able to resist.

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