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Giovacchini, P.L. (1988). Bewilderment and the Borderline Phenomenon. Psychoanal. Inq., 8(3):398-421.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 8(3):398-421

Bewilderment and the Borderline Phenomenon Related Papers

Peter L. Giovacchini, M.D.

During the past decade, psychoanalysis as a therapeutic system has been increasingly challenged. Some clinicians believe that “psychoanalysis is dead,” a pronouncement that has sometimes been made by psychoanalysts. Others strongly feel that psychoanalysis, as a separate organized discipline, will not last much longer.

Undoubtedly, there are many complex reasons for such gloomy predictions. Unlike the opposition that psychoanalysis initially encountered, there is relatively little objection to it as a conceptual system. Overtly or covertly, as a method of understanding, it has had a significant influence on both the arts and sciences. Its efficacy as a therapeutic procedure, however, has been severely attacked.

As practitioners, we believe the essence of psychoanalysis resides in its clinical explanations and the study of the treatment process. Initially it was prescribed for a small group of patients, those that Freud (1914) called the transference neuroses. I recall how my peer group, as young clinicians, eagerly sought the analyzable patient, since the patients we commonly encountered could not be fit into the diagnostic category of transference neurosis.

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