Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Diagnosis and Treatment of the Personality Disorders by Martin Kantor

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Diagnosis and Treatment of the Personality Disorders by Martin Kantor

Article excerpt

MARTIN KANTOR: Diagnosis and Treatment of the Personality Disorders. Ishiyaku EuroAmerica, Inc., St. Louis, 1992, 323 pp., $35.00.

"...Personality traits are like proverbs, proverbs can serve as headlines to the 'story' of a personality disorder" (p. 8). And so Dr. Kantor begins his curious, comprehensive, and very enjoyable book.

Each chapter addresses a different personality disorder, and generally follows the typology of the DSM series, with some additions. Affective personality disorder, passive-dependent personality disorder, sadomasochistic personality disorder, and anxious/phobic/dissociative personality disorder invite us to consider other expressions of "the quality of edema" (p. 10) that distorts normal personality.

A closer look at each chapter also yields some pleasant surprises. The personality disorder is first discussed, often with great flair (e.g., the smorgasborderline and the Pygmalion borderline), and then the disorder's clinical presentation is demarcated within traditional mental-status-exam categories, a unique and thoughtful approach never before seen by me. This section is followed by treatment suggestions that include psychoanalytic, interpersonal, cognitive, environmental, behavioral, and pharmacological models. The change agent that has most effectively worked for Kantor is highlighted. This chapter outline is consistently followed throughout the book, and is a refreshingly colorful and integrative contribution to what has become an often plebeian literature (Kantor would probably label most personality disorder research, if my hunch is right, and in his own words, as a nosology that is oversimplified, inhuman, and concrete). …

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