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Dr Anthony Korner


Anthony Korner works in Sydney as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, primarily in public practice. He is Director of the Master of Medicine (Psychotherapy) Program at the University of Sydney and is active in teaching and research as well as clinical practice. His research interests are in psychodynamic psychotherapy, linguistics and philosophy. He has published over 40 papers in journals and books, including being a co-author of Borderline Personality Disorder and the Conversational Model: A clinician’s guide. He was on the National Health and Medical Research Council Committee for the development of a guideline for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder 2011-13. He completed a PhD on psychotherapy process in 2015. He is the Australian representative on the World Council for Psychotherapy and was chairman of the organizing committee for the 6th World Congress for Psychotherapy, held in Sydney in 2011.

Abstract – Clinical Master Class – 8 May 2019

Walking the Line: Borderline States in Context

Borderline Personality Disorder is a 20th Century construct although one with resonances to earlier diagnoses such as ‘hysteria’. In the 21st Century, the DSM 5 decision to make Personality Disorder and “Axis 1” disorder adds weight to its recognition as a medical disorder. Arguably this has moral implications with respect to the duty to treat. In this talk BPD will be considered with attention to the contexts in which BPD is more likely to develop. The question will be raised as to whether the construct can be understood as a ‘within-the-individual’ phenomenon. From the perspective of the Conversational Model, BPD reflects a disorder of self often related to traumatic impingement and neglect in early life. Dissociation is often a prominent feature and needs to be considered in assessment. Effective treatment requires engagement with self in addition to the processing of the trauma. The conditions required for growth of self will be discussed.

The complexity of ‘borderline states’ will be discussed from a philosophical perspective with reference to two books, Reinterpreting the Borderline (Paul Cammell) and Mapping the edges and the in-between (Nancy Nyquist Potter). Particular attention will be paid to the idea that the anger of people in ‘borderline states’ needs to be given uptake (Potter). Clinicians sometimes walk a fine line in providing containment while encouraging full expression of the patient’s experience.

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