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Int J Psychoanal. 2000 Oct;81 ( Pt 5):853-73.

Playing with reality: III. The persistence of dual psychic reality in borderline patients.

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Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London.


This paper is a contribution towards understanding the difficulties of severely borderline patients as they are uncovered within the psychoanalytic process. The authors aim to extend a model from previous papers, bringing a developmental perspective to bear on self-representation and self-organisation. This model rests on an understanding of the child's experience of psychic reality in both normal and neurotic people. The authors explore the relevance of these developmental ideas in thinking about severe borderline and related disturbances seen in adult patients, from the point of view of both understanding the pathology and considering technique. Illustrations are given from a case that helped to prompt the formulation of these states in terms of persistent, pervasive distortions of the experience of psychic reality. There is then an attempt to elucidate the difficulties of borderline patients in tolerating both separation and intimacy, consideration of the way in which bodily experiences may be used as an equivalent of mental experience or contact, and a discussion of the impact of disturbances in the experience of psychic reality on the analytic process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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