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Aisling Campbell – A Psychoanalytic Perspective on borderline Personality Disorder


THE LETTER 37 (Summer 2006) pages 56-71


The diagnosis of borderline personality is one of the few categories within psychiatric classification systems which retains the aura of its psychoanalytic origins. However, even this category is going the way of others; in the past many diagnostic categories hinted at some putative underlying mechanism, but the new trend is for categories which blandly describe symptoms or behaviours (for example, panic disorder, or somatisation disorder). The correct modern title for borderline is ’emotionally unstable personality’ which has a more neutral flavour -although there is still a subtype of “borderline type”. For the rest of this paper, as a nod to the psychoanalytic origins of the diagnostic category, I will use the term “borderline”, not least because – as I hope to show – it is a useful and apposite term.

A Psychoanalytic Perspective on borderline Personality Disorder

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