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January 1983

Borderline Personality

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry The University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas 5323 Harry Hines Blvd Dallas, TX 75235

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(1):107-108. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790010113014

To the Editor.—  When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.Lewis CarrollNowhere does this familiar quotation from Alice in Wonderland seem more apt than in descriptions of psychotherapy of patients with borderline personality disorders. There is an apocryphal story of an expert on the treatment of these patients who visited a psychiatric inpatient facility. When introduced to several borderline patients, he finally exploded, "Why do you keep showing me schizophrenics?"Does Richard Chessick (Archives 1982;39:413-419) also have his own private definition of borderline personality disorder? Chessick reported a sensitive, thoughtful, and apparently successful 101/2-year treatment of a "borderline" woman. His treatment was appropriate and helpful, but his diagnosis was incorrect.Chessick's patient does not fit the DSM-III descriptive criteria for borderline personality. No significant impulsive, unpredictable behavior was reported. She had an unpleasant, but stable relationship with her husband. She had difficulty

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