Borderline Personality Disorder
New Perspectives on a Stigmatizing and Overused Diagnosis
by Jacqueline Simon Gunn and Brent Potter
November 2014, 159pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3229-1
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3230-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Six to 10 million Americans meet the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder.

This book is an ideal resource for general readers who want a clear understanding of people suffering with chaotic emotions, and for clinicians treating patients for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

The patterns of behavior of those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are often frustrating and mystifying to both clinicians and family members, despite several decades of study and research on this form of distress. Borderline Personality Disorder: New Perspectives on a Stigmatizing and Overused Diagnosis presents a thorough critical and historical review of the diagnosis of BPD and explores—through academic and clinical narratives—the different processes that occur in borderline behavior patterns.

The authors offer new perspectives that emphasize the whole person rather than a diagnosis, addressing the emotional storms and mood instability of BPD, providing guidance on managing emotional chaos in the therapeutic relationship, and explaining how to use one’s own feelings as a clinical tool. Their approach gives an intimate experiential feel for the interpersonal processes that occur in psychotherapy for both the patient and therapist. The result: readers will better understand who the person behind the diagnosis is, and comprehend what it really feels like to be someone struggling with these difficult interpersonal patterns.


  • Provides a historical exploration of how the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder emerged
  • Explains what causes Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Presents case vignettes that give readers an unprecedented look into the lived experience of persons suffering from emotional chaos
Jacqueline Simon Gunn, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and a freelance writer. She is the former psychology internship training director and clinical supervisor at The Karen Horney Clinic. Her published works include In The Therapist's Chair; Bare: Psychotherapy Stripped; and her short story series, Stranger Than Fiction. Gunn holds two master's degrees: one from John Jay College in forensic psychology and the other from Duquesne University in existential-phenomenological psychology. She holds a doctorate in psychology from Miami Institute of Psychology.

Brent Potter, PhD, is a licensed psychotherapist, child mental health specialist, and ethnic minority mental health specialist. Potter earned his master's degree in existential-phenomenological psychology from Duquesne University. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in depth psychology from the Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience providing clinical services in a range of settings, including inpatient, hospital, outpatient, and private practice. Potter has authored numerous articles, Elements of Self-Destruction, and has three forthcoming books.


"This is a remarkable book, both erudite and personal. The authors take us beyond the medical label to the inner world of individuals suffering from BPD. We are able to witness, up close and personal, the genesis and development of an ego traumatized by abandonment, wounded by relational failures, and torn between the intense longing for intimacy and uncontrollable anger towards the other. The take-home message of this book is that in spite of the challenges of treating a long untreated trauma, healing can still occur, only if a therapist is able to stick to clients’ experiences and stay engaged with authentic empathy, even when he becomes the target of therapeutic rage. I highly recommend this book to both novice and seasoned psychotherapists."—Paul T. P. Wong, PhD, C.Psych, President of the International Network on Personal Meaning

"A book-length critique of the concept of 'borderline personality disorder' is long overdue, and Jacqueline Simon Gunn and Brent Potter have achieved this deconstruction masterfully. Their book will go a long way toward humanizing and contextualizing the clinical phenomena under discussion."—Robert D. Stolorow, PhD, Author, World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011)
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