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Lost in the Mirror: An Inside Look at Borderline Personality Disorder Paperback – 1 Mar 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878332669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878332663
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.4 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Coming of age in the days of the Beatles, John F Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, a youthful sense of purity and immortality collided with a growing awareness that life can turn in the instant it takes for a bullet to leave a gun's muzzle and extinguish something cherished and good. An awareness that trauma shatters spirits as well as bodies led to a quest to help make sense of tragedy and to weave trauma and loss into an ever strengthening fabric of identity.

Nearly four decades as a psychiatrist has brought reminder after reminder of life's uncertainty and provided countless opportunities to bear witness to others' pain and to the remarkable capacity of the human spirit to emerge renewed from unfathomable misery. Out of this experience came a special interest in helping those least able to sustain the buffeting to recover their resilience, and a related interest in understanding how we remember and how the narrative of memory influences present day emotion.

My understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder grew out of my early experience as an inpatient psychiatrist working with those who had reached particularly desperate crossroads in their lives. LOST IN THE MIRROR: AN INSIDE LOOK AT BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER was written to provide these sufferers a model of what was happening to them that could help them find their way from chaos to serenity.

Accompanying others as they journeyed through their personal histories made clear to me that the retrieval and remodeling of memories made objective accounts of the past impossible and that the narratives that resulted must be taken as stories designed to make sense of experience. Each time a story is told, it changes a bit. And as the narrative is filtered through the therapeutic relationship, there are opportunities to mold it in ways that can heal. The ability of a therapist to influence how experience is remembered can be powerful and carries with it considerable responsibility to do no harm.

CAROUSEL MUSIC integrated my understanding of the complexities of remembering within the context of the narrative of therapy. While framed as an entertaining novel, it is also designed as a guide for therapists and patients to understanding the ambiguity of the personal narrative and finding ways to validate its essential elements. And it provides a balanced account of the controversy surrounding the validity of recovered memories that prevailed toward the close of the last century.

Now retired after 36 years as a trainee, teacher, and clinician in psychiatry, my attention turns to aging and mortality. Passing the Beatles' apocryphal 64, the beginning of the last chapter of life, brings with it the full realization of no longer being among the youngest adults on the planet and certainly not immortal. Bringing meaning to this stage of life is a different kind of challenge that can be particularly sweet if met successfully.

Aging also brings me back to musing about how memory works. Because of the span of our experience, the changes that have occurred in the narrative of our lives from the repeated retrieval of memories, and the changes that evolve in the capacity of our brains to process knowledge as we age, the lens through which we perceive our histories becomes clouded much as the lenses within our eyes. Some of us experience more clouding than others and we have not yet found the neurological equivalent of cataract surgery that can restore the clarity and color to our thoughts.

These concerns have fueled an interest in understanding the state of research in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases and seeking ways to facilitate the prevention and cures of these diseases. They have also piqued my interest in exploring new themes in my writing as I take up pen again after a long intermission in my creative process.

Product Description


This is a book where empathic insights. clinical wisdom and therapeutic optimism will usefully inform anyone who is interested in understanding BPD patients. This book ... is distuinguished by a dedicated effort to convey vividly and understandale a great deal about people with the disorder. Readers will be rewarded with welcomed appreciation. -- Tina Beychok Psychiatric Times Moskovitz is especially adept with analogies, using everyday situations to clarify his points rather than just adorn the text. He imparts that while there is no drug just for BPD, some drugs help with specific symptoms, and he dispenses practical advice to family and professionals as well as patients. Booklist Moskovitz offers a coherent picture of this disorder as a distinct syndrome...the author conveys, in a very empathetic and touching way, his understanding of what it feels like to be borderline. -- Meir Winokur The Jerusalem Post Mention the word "borderline" and you're sure to see smiles fade and demeanors bristle. Lost in the Mirror [is] an excellent field guide into the exploration of this mysterious condition. Moskovitz views borderline personality disorder as being rooted in past trauma and closely linked to dissociation disorders. Together, the therapist and the patient embark on the task of discovering and sorting through these memories, piecing them together to form a sensible whole. -- Chris Dunn, PhD Professional Counselor

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 120 people found the following review helpful By patty@mhsanctuary.com on 16 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
I am the webowner of "Borderline Personality Disorder Sanctuary". I myself have been diagnosed with the borderline personality disorder (BPD) and as a result have lived most of my life crisis-oriented; experiencing a great deal of emotional pain.
I tried everything imaginable to get better and yet nothing worked. My family sat down with me for long periods of time trying to get through to me. I went to many different counselors looking for some way out of this nightmare that I lived.
As I listened to everyone it was like they were on a different planet speaking a different language. No one could understand me.
Finally I got a copy of Dr. Moskovitz's book "Lost in the Mirror." I sat down and cried shortly into the first chapter. It was the very first time that someone understood me and not only that, it was as if the author had his arm around me through the entire book.
Lost in the Mirror is so beautifully and gently written and it was also the first time that I realized that I was not miserable because I was a bad person which is what I had always thought.
The magic of "Lost in the Mirror" is the mixture of the tremendous clinical experience and knowledge the author has (he is up to date with the research), with his very gentle, warm and caring personality.
People come to me all the time asking what book I recommend for consumers and "Lost in the Mirror" is it. In fact, it is also an excellent book to assist families in understanding the borderline their lives. I have heard from many family members how helpful this book has been for them.
Dr. Moskovitz brings you right up to date with his second edition in regards to treatment. He discusses the latest about psychotropic medication, EMDR and DBT.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By vicky farthing on 25 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
Having been recently diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a few years back now. I was desperate to find out what that meant about me as a person and what was instore.
This book is a great start to finding more indepth information.
It's not an overwhelming book with Doctors or Pychiatrists talk, it's written with the reader in mind.
I have passed this book on to friends to read so they can better understand me to.
A very good investment, it made a world of difference for me, I found myself saying 'yeah i thought that too' or' I know that feeling'
This book could be more valuable in the early stages of recognition than therapy.
A small price to pay for pricless information.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Augustine on 5 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those easy flow books that is accessible for many viewpoints including professionals and especially those lost within the symptoms of BPD but who do not know how to describe what they are experiencing and are very much alone. It also goes on to describe the usual steps in treatment such as group therapy, drug therapy and hospitalisation with some mention of new innovative therapies: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy).

An unexpected encounter is the threaded narrative of a condensed case history that completes each brief chapter. This has the effect of easing the absorption of much of the material that is presented. At times, the human message left me somewhat sad at the tortuous life that the fictitious Sara portrayed, which was no doubt a true amalgamation of a typical case history, but Dr Moskovitz treats her symptoms with understanding and extreme care and thankfully finds a successful closure.

It is a real insight into the profound sensitivity, lucidity and above all utter integrity of the psychotherapeutic relationship. As well as gaining a footing into the mirror world of lost identity, black and white thinking, reactive impulses derived through child hood hurt, the enormity of the task ahead for the mental health profession becomes also clear. It is argued that 25 per cent of psychiatric hospitalisations in the States are BPD derived - which is staggering.

As this is the second edition, now almost 8 years old, there may possibly be more up to date introductions into the subject. But I think if you want one written with more warmth, kindness and compassion, it might be hard to match Dr Moskovitz's version and clarity, which no doubt explains its popularity still today.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "vixstix" on 14 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
Having read this book I finally left behind the feeling of being alone in my thoughts and fears. I had been Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder 6 months befroe reading this book and it gave me a great insight into myself and comfort. I highly recomend anyone who has borderline Personality Disorder or who is trying to support someone with BPD to read this book. It is an easy and intersting read which isn't full of medical jargon and will without a doubt bring the reader a little clarity if not more
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I did not read the firt edition, and this is Dr. Moskovitz's second edition, which has written to incorporate the new findings in biological psychiatry, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy that has occured in the field of BPD. What attracted me to the book was its title "Lost in the Mirror". IIdentity disturbance is a facet of BPD that is rarely understood by people who dont have BPD, but critically sometimes also by people who do. Dr. Moskovitz includes many vignettes particularly from one patient, and it is her journey out of BPD that he traces in this book, and all the challenges that the practicing psychiatrist and the patient will experience on that journey. There are some nuggets of wisdom in this book, particularly in helping to understand the sometimes strange and mysterious or erratic personality traits which people with BPD display which is why I have rated it 3/5. I think the power of the book will be two-fold. Firstly,as hinted to in the title, in explaining to family members or partners of someone with BPD, what it is like to see it from the BPD sifferers perspective, which no doubt is one of Dr.Moskovitz's strengths,it will help often desperate families and partners to make sense of this condition and secondly, for the public who do not know anything about BPD, where people with mental illness and in particular BPD are stigmatised, it will provide a significant counterbalance.
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