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Monday, May 24, 2010


I know I have to go back and do another several because I left out Winnicott and several others. It's like trying to decide on the favorite child.

My Work With Borderline Patients, by Harold Searles.

Please, please give "In a House of Dreams and Glass" by Robert Klitzman, MD a try. It's about his residency in psychiatry and is excellent and very readable.

Here's a random quote from a sufferer:

"I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don't like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second's action would end everything. A few drops of desperation. - WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965)

Here's a few things that influenced me:

Julian Jaynes "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"
Freud, Erikson, Kernberg

Some memoirs that are better than most (to remind the shrink how it feels to be a patient): Jamison "An Unquiet Mind" on bipolar, Carolyn Knapp on addictions and eating disorders, and Elizabeth Wurtzel. All 3 "difficult" patients. All of Sylvia Plath. Anna Akhmatova, the Russian Acmeist poet, who lived thru the Revolution and aftermath in Russia.

Adam Phillips reads well and is civilized, tho sometimes a bit precious. I love his short chapter on "Clutter".

Selma Fraibeg "the magic Years", Karen Horney.

George Vaillant had a huge and encouraging effect on me at Harvard. As a snarky kid,I thought him a boozy blowhard, but his course and book "Adaptations to Life" and his popularizing of notions of healthy and destructive defense mechanisms have helped many.

I've read shelf feet of forgettable texts on childhood psychiatric disorders. There are actually not many good books on children's conditions. Bettelheim was abusive and parent blaming. Alice Miller promoted the cult of the victim.

Children are usually in families and families are still scared of clinicians, so murky territory. I've read so much bilge trying to understand my kid's difficulties. Many ignorant or agenda driven "therapists" without adequate training or supervision fill in because of inadequate numbers of well trained child shrinks.

But parental memoirs often so emotional or misleading that they aren't much help. And then thos with the Secret Miraculous Cure (expensive and rare and imposes much hassle on parents) for whichever condition your loved one has.

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