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Wallerstein, R.S. (1994). Borderline Disorders: Report on the 4th IPA Research Conference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:763-774.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:763-774

Borderline Disorders: Report on the 4th IPA Research Conference

Robert S. Wallerstein

Under the impetus of then-President Joseph Sandler, the IPA in 1991 inaugurated an annual two-day Conference on Psychoanalytic Research, held in London each March. Under the auspices of a committee originally chaired by Robert Wallerstein and now by Peter Fonagy, the conferences, attended each time by between two and three hundred participants, have been increasingly successful at achieving their stated purpose of cultivating the dialogue between psychoanalytic clinicians and psychoanalytic researchers, making the concerns of each of these two constituencies more germane and more persuasive to the other. The conferences have had the titles: 'The Processes and Outcomes of Psychoanalysis', 1991; 'The Transference', 1992; 'The Observed Child and the Reconstructed Child', 1993; and now 'Borderline Disorders', 1994.

This report is written in the sequence in which the Conference unfolded, set, however, within the framework of my own organising perspective, as a case demonstration of the mutual enrichment of clinician and researcher in what should be—desperately should be—a sense of a fully shared enterprise in which we will all survive together, or not, as a science and a discipline. These remarks are organised in that spirit around the central questions that actually surfaced in the very first presentation, that of Ulrich Sachsse, Gottingen, discussed by Vamik Volkan, Charlottesville, and chaired by Robert Emde, Denver. These questions are: (1) Where do empirical research and clinical study mutually inform each other? (2) What do we mean by (empirical) research anyway? and (3) Specifically, what is psychoanalytic about psychoanalytic research? i.

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