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Goodman, W.H. (1987). An Introduction to the Borderline Conditions: By William N. Goldstein, M.D. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1985. 241 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:550-553.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:550-553

An Introduction to the Borderline Conditions: By William N. Goldstein, M.D. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1985. 241 pp.

Review by:
Warren H. Goodman

This is a most welcome compact volume which, to my knowledge, is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive, yet succinct review of the now copious and diverse literature devoted to borderline and narcissistic conditions. Within 200 pithy pages, the author has condensed, almost in outline form, diverse theoretical points of view regarding the diagnosis, dynamics, and even treatment of the borderline patient. He uses the perspective of ego psychology for his presentation and critical evaluation of the various theoretical viewpoints.

Goldstein begins by defining ego functions in a very basic way, which makes this volume congenial to the needs of a neophyte therapist, e.g., someone at a residency training level in a dynamically oriented institution. He goes on, however, to reach a much higher level of complexity that can provide a more experienced practitioner with a very useful summary and review of the various conceptualizations of borderline patients. He offers sufficient references, attributions, and bibliography to enable the interested reader to pursue in greater depth the varied and often conflicting lines of thinking presented. In addition to the basic, yet thorough definition of ego functions, he provides an elementary introduction to instinctual drives and superego theory, and a psychodynamic classification of psychopathology. This makes it possible for the reader who has had little or no experience with the psychoanalytic literature to be able to follow Goldstein as he presents the theoretical underpinnings of the various, often mutually contradictory conceptualizations of the borderline patient.

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