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Holzman, P. Perry, J.C. (1986). Borderline Personality Disorders: Research Issues and New Empirical Findings. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 34:179-192.

(1986). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 34:179-192

Borderline Personality Disorders: Research Issues and New Empirical Findings

Philip Holzman, Ph.D. and J. Christopher Perry, M.D.

HOLZMAN INTRODUCED THE PANEL BY describing the history behind the decision to present a panel on empirical research at the scientific session. The 1981 joint task force on Careers in Psychoanalytic Research, chaired by Holzman, stated psychoanalysis "requires the nourishment which comes from those who devote themselves essentially full-time to the research effort. Without this group, psychoanalysis is in danger of falling behind in its scientific status." They recommended that the scientific program include a panel on research, to which the Program Committee, chaired by Richard A. Isay, was receptive. This inaugural panel focuses on the study of the borderline syndrome, which is of central interest to psychoanalysts. The purpose is to determine how to integrate clinical research and new findings with psychoanalytic concepts, or to determine how they might alter these concepts.

Holzman noted that diagnosis is a way to systematize knowledge. DSM-III borderline personality disorder is a diagnosis that includes a heterogeneous group of clinical phenomena. Systematic research on this is rare in comparison to other disorders, while speculation and dogmatic assertion abound but have not often been put to reliable test.

Gunderson presented his paper, "Interfaces between psychoanalytic and empirical studies of borderline personality." While the original descriptions of the borderline patients emphasized intrapsychic characteristics, borderline personality disorder was included in DSM-III because of a growing series of empirical studies that clarified its boundaries.

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