Transmuting Freud Into Kohut

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(1), 72–73. Reviews the book, Freud's Case Studies: Self-Psychological Perspectives edited by Barry Magid (1993). In reading this book, it is helpful to understand that Kohut's theory is about the intrapsychic development of a putative self, which is the organizing center of the personality. The self is said to thrive in an empathic matrix of selfobject relations (mirroring and idealizing) with others. In Kohut's theory, the central role of relationships with others, rather than sexuality, displaces or subsumes most of Freud's ideas about the personality, including the role of development, motivation, mental structures, and conflict. The cases selected for a Kohutian explanation include Anna O., Dora, Little Hans, the Rat Man, Schreber, the Wolf Man, and the Homosexual Identity of a Nameless Woman. Interesting and important information is provided about the lives of these seven patients that is not found in classical psychoanalytic accounts of the cases. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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