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Gray, S.H. (1989). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986: The Borderline Patient and Affirmative Interpretation. Norman D. Schaffer. Pp. 148-162.. Psychoanal Q., 58:171-172.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986: The Borderline Patient and Affirmative Interpretation. Norman D. Schaffer. Pp. 148-162.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:171-172

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986: The Borderline Patient and Affirmative Interpretation. Norman D. Schaffer. Pp. 148-162.

Sheila Hafter Gray

The author notes that there is a significant divergence among psychotherapists concerning both the nature and the timing of interpretations offered to borderline patients. He is in explicit disagreement with authorities who recommend the early and consistent confrontation of primitive defenses and emerging negative transference

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phenomena. He finds that borderline patients tend to experience this approach as a disrespectful condemnation of their behavior, which compromises the individual's fragile self-esteem. He does, however, confirm that interpretations are necessary in the beginning of treatment. Following Roy Schafter, he believes that interpretations ought to be of an affirmative sort that demonstrates empathic understanding of the patient's situation and appreciation of the adaptive value of his or her behavior and problematic life-style. He finds that patients experience affirmative interpretations as setting the stage for their trustful communication with the therapist, and that they will readily accept interpretations which focus on the adaptive function of the transference.

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Article Citation

Gray, S.H. (1989). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 58:171-172

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