A Shield in the Economy of Borderline States

By Anna Potamianou

© 1996 – Routledge

128 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415121774
pub: 1996-12-05
US Dollars$47.95
Hardback: 9780415121767
pub: 1996-12-05
US Dollars$120.00

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About the Book

In the well known myth of Pandora, hope was the last and most need gift at the bottom of a box of myriad misfortunes let loose on an unsuspecting world. For most human beings hope is a positive benefit. Anna Potamianou shows how in the 'borderline' patient hope can become a perverted and omnipotent means of denying reality. Indeed, in such individuals any state of mind or feeling can take on the status of an object, which is then used as a barrier against their fear of change.

The psychic economy and dynamics of borderline states are not yet well understood and this book makes an important contribution to the clinical debate.


"Theoretically interesting and clinically helpful. The author vividly conveys the borderline patient's world of chaos and unthinkable threats." - Journal of the British Association for Psychotherapists

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Hope as a Binding Cathexis. As Exemplified in the Pandora Myth. As Exemplified in a Patient's Progress. Part II: Clinical and Metapsychological Background. On Cathexes. Delimiting Cathexes and Cathexes of Limits. Cathexes and Decathexes in Borderline States. Part III: Hope. Dynamic and Economic Aspects. One Day… It'll All Be Better Tomorrow. Part IV: Hopeful Waiting in Borderline States. Raising of Shields. A Token of Resistance. Safeguarding Masochism. A Cathexis that Becomes an Object. Part V: Even God Needs a Mother. De-formation, De-shaping, Dis-sociation. Tracing A Path. Notes. Selected Bibliography. Index.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

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