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Int J Psychoanal. 1989;70 ( Pt 3):527-34.

On 'doing nothing' in the psychoanalytic treatment of the refractory borderline patient.

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Menninger Foundation, Topeka, KS 66601-0829.


In the course of analytic work with refractory borderline patients, the analyst will experience protracted periods of silence. The analyst's verbal interventions are likely to fall on deaf ears and produce little change in the stalemate. The analyst may then need to resort to silent processing of the projective identification process transpiring between patient and analyst and use it to inform the manner in which he functions with the patient. In this paper I have dissected out six active components of these phases of analysis where the analyst may appear to be doing nothing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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