Randi Kreger, the author of the new book The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, (Hazelden: Center City, Minnesota, 2008) is probably best-known as the co-author of Stop Walking on Eggshells, one of the most popular resources for families of people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). With her latest book, she has tackled the difficult task of providing a comprehensive and clear description of BPD and its impact on the family, as well as a set of tools for family members to use to cope with BPD symptoms.
Advice from Expert Sources
To approach this task, Ms. Kreger read broadly on the subject, interviewed many of the preeminent experts in the field (including Drs. Robert Friedel, Blaise Aguirre, Jim Breiling, Perry Hoffman and John Gunderson), and drew from her own experiences as moderator of the Welcome to Oz forum, an online community of BPD family members. She has done a remarkable job of integrating a very broad and diverse set of information into one complete work.
The task of writing this book was particularly difficult given that BPD, itself, has been studied extensively, but very little research has been done on the impact of BPD on the family (although recently, more researchers have begun to focus on this issue). Unfortunately, this means that Ms. Kreger was not able to draw from an extensive peer-reviewed scientific literature. Hopefully, though, her work will provide the impetus for more systematic study of the issues she addresses.
Something for Every Family Member
In the first section of the book, Ms. Kreger describes BPD, its impact on relationships, how BPD is treated and how to find help. While these topics are covered in other books on BPD, a particularly nice feature of this book is that Ms. Kreger incorporates many case examples and anecdotes to illustrate some of the key concepts she describes.
In the second section of the book, Ms. Kreger presents five “power tools” that family members can use to help themselves and their loved one with BPD cope with the disorder. The tools are easy to understand, and very useful. Certainly, everyone with a BPD family member can take something practical away from this book.
The Take Home
There are a few drawbacks of the book worth noting: First, the structure of some of the chapters was a bit confusing; Ms. Kreger often interjects with side notes, and this can detract from the flow of the chapter. Also, I found that Ms. Kreger occasionally uses language that is a bit too conclusive given the state of the research literature; there is still much we need to learn about BPD, and it would be helpful if the language she used better reflected the relative infancy of our understanding.
Despite these limitations, this is a very useful book that certainly belongs on the bookshelves of people with BPD, their family members and clinicians who treat the disorder.
Kreger R. The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden, 2008