Lives of the Unconscious

Lives of the Unconscious

Podcast on Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Episode 13: Borderline—A balancing act between psychological extremes

Lives of the Unconscious

Children are existentially reliant upon their primary caregivers concerning almost every sphere of life and, most of all, in relation to their need for love. If the caregivers are also those who attack this psychological survival, children face an unanswerable situation that has disastrous consequences for psychological development. According to the psychoanalytic understanding, borderline is a severe structural disorder that often originates in early attachment experiences that were devastating or traumatic. Characteristic symptoms, as is common for instance with so-called “cutting” or “black-and-white thinking”, thus represent organizational attempts—once again stabilizing and maintaining fragile self-states at moments in which inner emptiness and dissolution are felt. In this episode, we will move into the borderlands of the psyche, and try to understand some of the extreme experiential states of emotional experience and experience of the self.

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Literature Recommendations:

  • Bollas, C. (2021). Three Characters: Narcissist, Borderline, Manic Depressive. Phoenix Publishing House.
  • Bateman, A., Fonagy, P. (2006). Mentalization-based Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder: A Practical Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bateman, A., Krawitz, O. (2015). Borderline Personality Disorder: An Evidence-based Guide for Generalist Mental Health Professionals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Linehan, M. (1993). Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guilford.
  • Kernberg, O. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism, New York: Jason Aronson.
  • Kernberg, O. (1984). Severe personality disorders: Psychotherapeutic strate-gies, New Haven, Yale University Press.
  • Kernberg, Otto (1989). A psychoanalytic classification of character pathology. In R. F. Lax (Ed.) Essential papers in psychoanalysis. Essential papers on character neurosis and treatment (p. 191–210). New York University Press.
  • Kernberg, Otto, Michels, Robert (2009). Borderline Personality Disorder. The American Journal of Psychiatry.
  • Rosenfeld, H. (1987). Impasse and Interpretation: Therapeutic and Anti-Therapeutic Factors in the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Psychotic, Borderline and Neurotic Patients. London: Routledge.
  • Steiner, J. (1993). Psychic Retreats: Pathological Organisations in Psychotic, Neurotic and Borderline Patients. London: Routledge.
  • West, M. (2016). Into the Darkest Places: Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind. London: Routledge.
  • Yeomans, F.E., Clarkin, J.F., Kernberg, O. (2015). Transference-Focused Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder. Philadelphia (US): American Psychiatric Publishing.

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