Perry Hoffman, 75, Dies; Saw Family Support as Key to Psychiatric Care

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“She democratized the entire field; she brought together patients, family members, professionals, all in the same room — that was her idea, and it was unheard-of at the time,” Mr. Fruzzetti said in a phone interview.

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The success of the program became its own kind of hard evidence in refuting myths about borderline personality disorder, which is marked by neediness, baiting, and emotional outbursts that appear so often to be the symptoms of poisoned relationships. “A lot of psychotherapists tend to lean in and blame families, and she was a force against all that,” said Dr. Lois Choi-Kain, director of the Adult Borderline Center and Training Institute at McLean Hospital.

Perry Ann Dunn was born on July 21, 1944, in New York City, the second of three children of Joseph Dunn, an engineer, and Edith (Goldstein) Dunn, a homemaker. The couple had fled Europe during the Nazi era.

The family moved to Larchmont, where Perry grew up. She attended Mamaroneck High School, where she met Mr. Hoffman. The two became a couple, and married in 1966.

She attended Temple University in Philadelphia, earning a bachelor’s degree in teaching, and taught elementary school for two years in England before becoming pregnant with her first child.

In addition to her husband, Dr. Hoffman is survived by three children, Brendan and David Hoffman and Rennie Silverman; seven grandchildren; and a sister, Joy Dunn. Her brother, Richard Dunn, died before her.


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