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Lester, E.P. (1994). Boundaries in the Mind: By Ernest Hartmann. New York: Basic Books. 1991. Pp. 275.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:411-413.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:411-413

Boundaries in the Mind: By Ernest Hartmann. New York: Basic Books. 1991. Pp. 275.

Review by:
Eva P. Lester

In his Introduction, Hartmann speaks of boundaries as a 'new dimension of the personality' but, considering the fact that four decades ago Federn was writing extensively on the subject, Hartmann's assertion might be questioned. What is new, and significant for the evolution of the concept of boundaries, is Hartmann's approach to the subject: he arrives at his conclusions on the basis of detailed interviews of a large number of experimental subjects. Subsequently, he attempts to support his hypotheses through the use of specific tools, the Boundary Questionnaire, and other personality assessments, applied extensively to a large number of individuals over a long period of time.

In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud dealt briefly with the concept of boundaries.

Pathology has made us acquainted with a great number of states in which the boundary lines between the ego and the external world are uncertain or in which they are actually drawn incorrectly. There are cases in which parts of a person's own body, even portions of his own mental life—his perceptions, thoughts and feelings, appear alien to him and not belonging to his ego … Thus even the feeling of our own ego is subject to disturbances and the boundaries of the ego are not constant (1930p. 66).

According to Anzieu, Federn, unlike Freud, who was interested in the dream and its relation to the psychic life of the individual, focused his attention on transitional states, i.e. the transition between sleep and waking, waking and sleep and 'more generally, between different levels of vigilance in the ego' (1989p.

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