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Jackson, M. (1989). Discussion: A Kleinian Perspective. Psychoanal. Inq., 9(4):554-569.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 9(4):554-569

Discussion: A Kleinian Perspective

Murray Jackson, FRCP, FRCPsych.

The spectrum of patients currently liable to be classified as Borderline is so wide that much energy has been spent in recent years in the attempt to refine the concept and to establish satisfactory defining criteria (Grinker et al., 1968; Jackson & Pines, 1986a; Frosch, 1988; Jackson & Tarnopolsky, 1989). One recurring theme of dispute concerns the justifiability of including a susceptibility to brief or “micropsychotic” episodes as an essential diagnostic requirement. This theme has special significance when one addresses the question of the nature of the profound developmental arrest that is generally agreed to lie at the core of this disorder. Some clinicians would wish the diagnosis of borderline to be abandoned, holding that despite all efforts to refine the category, it remains too vague and diffuse. Frosch (1988), in particular, regards the neurotic content as the expression of underlying psychotic mechanisms and argues that the term should be abandoned and replaced by his concept of “psychotic character.”

Klein's formulation of the paranoid-schizoid position concerned this very issue, the nature and sequence of primitive developmental processes in the infant and small child and the way they underlie subsequent neurotic pathology and predispose to later psychotic developments (Klein, 1946; see also Spillius, 1988).

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