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Stone, M.H. (1994). My Work with Borderline Patients: By Harold F. Searles. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1986, 409 pp., $50.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:285-287.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:285-287

My Work with Borderline Patients: By Harold F. Searles. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1986, 409 pp., $50.00.

Review by:
Michael H. Stone, M.D.

The twelve chapters of Dr. Searles' book on the treatment of borderline patients are revisions of articles published between 1969 and 1984. In relation to long-term intensive psychotherapy with borderline patients, these years may be said to mark the twilight of an era—one that began in the 1940's with the papers of Helen Deutsch, Melitta Schmideberg, and Phyllis Greenacre. Sadly, this form of treatment has fallen out of fashion over the past decade—even though the technique remains valuable—for reasons having to do with economics and the swing toward biological explanations (and treatment methods) for borderline patients. One is reminded of the last of the Japanese woodblock craftsmen, whose time-consuming and costly art, requiring some 10 years of apprenticeship, was overtaken, eventually, by the Instamatic.

Searles' use of the term "borderline" is in sympathy with that of Margaret S. Mahler, and defines a region between that of frank psychosis and the higher-functioning neurotic conditions.

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