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Chessick, R.D. (1997). Dynamic Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient: William Goldstein. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1996, x + 301 pp.. Psychoanal. Psychol., 14(3):441-449.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 14(3):441-449

Dynamic Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient: William Goldstein. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1996, x + 301 pp.

Review by:
Richard D. Chessick, M.D., Ph.D.

Every author seems to have his or her own method for the treatment of borderline patients as well as differing diagnostic criteria for determining whether a patient is to be labeled as borderline Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM—IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) defines the essential feature of borderline personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, along with marked impulsivity that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. This pattern is observable in many kinds of DSM—IV personality disorders, and as a result the borderline personality diagnosis overlaps with many other types of DSM—IV disorders, providing a sort of Rorschach test for authors who wish to write about the subject. A substantial segment of psychotherapeutic practice is made up of difficult, usually female, patients who fall more or less under this DSM—IV rubric

There seems to be no end to the writing of books about borderline patients. Techniques range from those of Abend, Porder, and Willick (1983), who recommend a more or less standard psychoanalytic treatment without parameters, to the cognitive therapy methods of Young (1996) and the recently presented “dialectical behavior therapy” of Linehan (1993). Somewhere in between lie the techniques of Kernberg (1975; Kernberg, Seltzer, Koenigsberg, Carr, & Applebaum, 1989) and Masterson (1981), which are rather idiosyncratic and based on an extremely specific developmental theory, as well as pragmatic techniques such as my own (Chessick 1977, 1993a, 1996). Why, then, another book on the borderline patient?

The answer is that with such a plethora of theories, techniques, and suggestions regarding the borderline patient, the beginner is bound to be overwhelmed by conflicting information and ideas. Goldstein has made an effort in this book to present a primer outlining some of the basic approaches along with his own approach to treatment of borderline patients.

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