Self Psychology Page 


Fall 1998 #1

A forum for ideas expressed in a single sentence, or less.

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Editors: George Atwood and David Klugman


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1. An unspoken counterpart to the idea of the selfobject in self psychology is that of the objectself, a self constituted exclusively by the needs and requirements of the object - inasmuch as the cohesion of the objectself is entirely a borrowed one, it can be said that an objectself disintegrates into authentic chaos upon encountering a selfobject.

George Atwood


2. For someone whose mind and body have been stolen, the only thing that exists is unreality and the only thing that is real does not exist.

Dorthy Levinson and George Atwood


3. In the use of the concept of projective identification, the clinician does to the patient precisely what this concept tells us that the patient is doing to the clinician.

George Atwood, Robert Stolorow, and Donna Orange.


4. Those who create 'systems' in psychoanalysis, their most ardent followers, and those who revel in presenting, discussing, and being discussed at psychoanalytic conferences appear, almost without exception, to be in headlong flight from profound childhood depression.

David Klugman and George Atwood


5. An important difference one often sees between those therapists who never encounter multiple personality and who doubt its very existence except perhaps as something iatrogenically induced, and those therapists who observe and treat multiple personality fairly frequently and who regard it as absolutely genuine, is that the former tend to be persons who have compliantly identified with idealized authority figures in their lives (parents, teachers, analysts) and in the process have sequestered and silenced the pain of serious childhood trauma, whereas the latter are persons who have reacted to the injuries and disruptions of their early years by becoming the idealized parent their mothers and fathers were not, and by seeking to heal and comfort themselves vicariously through taking care of childhood pain in others.

George Atwood and Janet Droga


6. The quintessential irony of the analytic relationship resides in the analyst who insists that the patient have a right to his or her own life, a right to develop a personal sense of freedom and agency.

William Coburn


7.. Classic Oxymorons:

(a) The fundamental RULE of FREE association - Robert Stolorow

(b) Assertiveness ......... Training! - George Atwood


8. In the same way one refrains from confronting the objective falsity in a delusion in order to respond to the core of subjective truth contained within it, one must avoid a focus on the potential or actual danger of a manic enactment in order to mirror and validate the sole surviving remnant of personal agency lying at its heart.

George Atwood and Dorthy Levinson



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