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Varvin, S. (2005). Mellemværende. En diskussion af begrebet borderline [Being in between. A discussion of the concept of borderline] By Judy Gammelgaard Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag. 2004. 256 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(6):1737-1740.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(6):1737-1740

Mellemværende. En diskussion af begrebet borderline [Being in between. A discussion of the concept of borderline] By Judy Gammelgaard Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag. 2004. 256 pp.

Review by:
Sverre Varvin

Borderline patients suffer from an inability to play. They cannot use a potential space where in their imagination they can use available objects as if they had created them. In their development catastrophes have taken place where a mother has not been there, or not been available when she was there. Attempts at creating an inner world where imagination and play may develop, and thus a sense of reality may develop, have been met with absence. Later attempts in new relationships or new circumstances tend to be futile exactly because they lack this intermediary space where a meeting with the other as a subjective human being separated from oneself can take place. Borderline patients live in a situation where symbolic expressions can only be understood concretely as containing a persecutory message or a threat. The other does not really become ‘an other’ and the self is not really a self.

The first paragraph is my summary of Gammelgaard's comprehensive and rich discussion of the borderline concept. Too brief and sketchy, and maybe too similar to well-known theories. One should, however, read the book and be wiser.

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