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Willick, M.S. (1991). Chapter 6: Working with Conflict and Deficit in Borderline and Narcissistic Patients. Conflict and Compromise: Therapeutic Implications, 77-94.

Willick, M.S. (1991). Chapter 6: Working with Conflict and Deficit in Borderline and Narcissistic Patients. Conflict and Compromise: Therapeutic Implications , 77-94

Chapter 6: Working with Conflict and Deficit in Borderline and Narcissistic Patients Book Information Previous Up Next

Martin S. Willick, M.D.

There is a general consensus among psychoanalytically oriented clinicians that the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder refers to a heterogeneous group of illnesses. According to the psychoanalytic concept, these patients are sicker than patients we classify as neurotic, but are not as disturbed as patients who fit into the various categories of psychosis. This definition of borderline personality disorder in terms of severity is in contrast to the one put forward in DSM-III where the syndrome is defined by its descriptive aspects only (APA, 1980). The framers of that diagnostic manual preferred to remain atheoretical in regard to the pathogenesis of most mental disorders because they felt that by confining themselves to descriptive features they could achieve greater consensual validation regarding diagnoses. The descriptive features listed for borderline personality include impulsive behavior, lack of control of anger and/or intense anger, impaired object relations, volatile mood swings, disturbances in the sense of self and identity, separation anxiety, and feelings of emptiness.

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