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Case Reports
, 13 (2), 287-95

Medication and Transference in Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient

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  • PMID: 2352891
Case Reports

Medication and Transference in Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient

R Brockman. Psychiatr Clin North Am.

Abstract

The regressive potential of the borderline patient has been recognized ever since the term was first introduced by Adolph Stern in 1938. He believed these patients were "too ill for classical psychoanalysis," and indeed almost all who have written on this subject have supported Stern's view, recognizing the severe regressive potential of a borderline patient in unmodified psychoanalysis. Taking medication is not generally considered to be a particularly regressive experience. It should be remembered, however, that for many patients and especially for patients with borderline personality disorder, medication can be both an overvalued hope and a terrifying assault. Thus, although the pharmacologic action of the medication may help to integrate the patient's ego functioning, the very taking of the medication may at the same time initiate subtle and unanticipated regressive drives. Two forces are then set in motion with potentially different effects. In a treatment where the same physician is prescribing medication and doing psychotherapy, the common pathway of these forces is transference. Thus, pharmacologic action may modify transference. And more importantly, because it is less easily recognized, transference issues may affect the patient's subjective experience of the action of the medication. For this reason, it is particularly important that not only diagnostic issues but also transference issues be understood before medication is prescribed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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