Self Psychology Page 

Heinz Kohut:
The Making of a Psychoanalyst

By Charles B. Strozier

Buy Charles Strozier's new biography of Heinz Kohut at through this link
and save 20% now while helping to support the Self Psychology Page.

Publisher's DescriptionHeinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
April 2001; $35.00US/$55.00CAN; 0-374-16880-6

Heinz Kohut (1913-1981) was at the center of the twentieth-century psychoanalytic movement. After fleeing his native Vienna when the Nazis took power there, he came to Chicago, where he spent the rest of his life. He became the most creative figure in the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and is now remembered as the founder of "self psychology," whose emphasis on empathy sought to make Freudian psychoanalysis more compassionate.

Kohut's was a life that invited complexity. He obfuscated his identity as a Jew, negotiated a protean sexuality, and could be surprisingly secretive about his health and other matters. In this biography, Charles B. Strozier shows us Kohut as a paradigmatic figure in American intellectual life: a charismatic man whose ideas embodied the hope and confusions of a still unsettled country. Inherent in his life and formulated in his work were the core issues of modem America. He touched the pulse.

The years after World War II were the halcyon days of American psychoanalysis, which thrived as one analyst after another expanded upon Freud's insights. The gradual erosion of the discipline's humanism, however, began to trouble clinicians and patients alike. Heinz Kohut took the lead in the creation of the first authentically home-grown psychoanalytic movement. It took an émigré to be so distinctly American.

Strozier brings to his telling of Kohut's life all the tools of a skillful analyst: intelligence, erudition, empathy, contrary insight, and a willingness to look far below the surface.


Charles B. Strozier is a professor of history at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, and a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology (TRISP). He is the author of Lincoln's Quest for Union: A Psychological Portrait and Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


"Strozier faced a truly daunting task in probing the life of a man who was as complex and duplicitous as he was gifted. Yet he succeeds brilliantly in conveying Kohut's intellectual power, and in making clear how and why he became the most influential clinical psychoanalyst of the last half-century. Strozier brings an extraordinary combination of empathy and breadth to this masterful biography."

--Robert Jay Lifton, co-author of Who Owns Death?: Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions

"A thoughtful, scholarly, penetrating biography of one of the most original contributors to psychoanalysis in this country. while evidently sympathetic to Kohut's contributions, Strozier successfully avoids idealizations and, implicitly, raises fascinating questions about the relationship between Kohut's personality and the subject matter of his dominant concern, normal and pathological narcissism. This book provides an appropriate tribute to a courageous pioneer who dared to challenge traditional assumptions."

--Otto F. Kernberg, M.D., author of Love Relations and Severe Personality Disorders

"This striking story of a single man is also a history of psychoanalysis as he has illuminated the life of its most distinguished member."

--Arnold Goldberg, M.D., author of Being of Two Minds and editor of the series Progress in Self Psychology


Buy Charles Strozier's new biography of Heinz Kohut at through this link and save 20% now while helping to support the Self Psychology Page.

Read it Online

Read the complete Preface online.

[ Self Psychology Bulletin Board ]

All Rights Reserved
Published by 3b