Self Psychology Page 


Winter 2002

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

Deep Thoughts Home

Editors: George Atwood and David Klugman

1. Take a Jimmy Hendrix guitar solo and listen to it without any backing - 
it sounds like a terrible noise .... 
until one hears it with bass and drums, and it becomes the most beautiful music; 
so too, the anguish of our patients is a terrible noise that exasperates us ... 
until, drawing on the resonance of our own souls, 
if we find the right backing and amplification,
a deep, sad music appears.

Ramon Riera & George Atwood

2. One who never feels right enough, cannot say that he or she is actually right.

Ramon Riera

3. Psychoanalysis is hysterical; it cannot see its own blindness.

Jeffrey Rubin

4. The idea that one finds the otherness of the Other through destruction is often discussed as though some unchanging Other were out there to be found - call it the Real as opposed to the fantasied Other; and as such seems to harbor a sort of objectivism of Otherness that resembles all other objectivisms in that a Reality out there, presumed at first to be misrepresented in the mind, is thought, through the rigors of disenchantment, to become known in some final, independent way - which way of knowing is, because of a maturity morality disguised as developmental theory, regarded as more advanced, desirable, and praiseworthy than its forerunner.

David Klugman

5. The problem with running up against someone who knows what's what, is that it destroys our confidence in our own confusion.

George Atwood & Dorthy Levinson

6. The classical psychoanalytic model of the mind as being made up of Ego, Id, and Superego, when viewed as a symbol of a very particular human situation, may be understood as reflecting an enmeshment scenario, wherein the child, in fear of the loss of a needed connection, surrenders parts of his or her own experience to the judgments and values of authority, and a constellating occurs of a driven animality, a seething cauldron of sexuality and aggression, representing a compromised authenticity striking back against the hegemony of the Other (an interpretation, incidentally, that articulates closely with the suggestion that Freud's concept of the Id is a counterpart to Winnicott's idea of the True Self).

George Atwood & David Klugman

7. In the spirit of Winnicott's famous remark that there is no such thing as an infant, it can also be said that there is no such thing as a mother, no such thing as a patient, no such thing as an analyst, and even no such thing as a person.

George Atwood

8. The blues guitarist, from a precise tension in the strings of his
electric guitar, extracts with his fingertips a little explosion of
vibrations that would be lost in the air, nearly inaudible, but
fortunately, the amplifier faithfully picks them up and turns them into
the most beautiful music, that this way can reach our soul;
in the same way, when we were children, the tensions of our muscles and
internal organs were lost in the nothingness, but fortunately, sometimes
somebody faithfully picked them up and turned them into the affects by
which today we are moved.

Ramon Riera

9. A void the vortex

'Who or what do you see when six year old Christopher sits
breathlessly alone, opposite mother in a tight corner of the
room, just waiting for you the analyst to find him, while everybody
else except angry mother calls him Chris?'

Fitz Douglas

10. The idea that one has identified the Satanic is itself the Satanic(?)

George Atwood & Christopher Atwood

11. I am (in the world), therefore I think.

Robert Stolorow

12. For one whose character is centrally organized by a split between an inner true self and an exterior false self, a radical relational theory would seem to suggest, insofar as it is only in the false self that concrete relationships with others are registered while the true self remains hidden and untouchable, that the so-called "true self" is in fact the product of inauthentic, solipsistic illusion while the apparent "false self" is the seat of a nascent authenticity embedded in its exquisitely sensitive attunement with the emotional needs of others- if so, perhaps instead of ridding the patient of an invidious false self, psychotherapy should attempt to help the patient discern the truth in that which had hitherto felt false, and the false in that which had hitherto felt true, thus deconstructing the schizoid fantasy maintaining the patient's divided self.

Kyle Arnold

Classic Deep Thoughts

I met someone who claimed
that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that more
people were not so as well.

Bertrand Russell
(submitted by Floyd Arnold)

The first lesson that innocent childhood affords me is - that it is an instinct of my Nature 
to pass out of myself, and to exist in the form of others; the second is - not to suffer 
one form to pass into me and to become a usurping Self in the disguise of what the
German Pathologists call a fixed idea.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The world exists for the sake of the Self

Patanjali - - the first Self psychologist - 2,500-3000 years ago
(submitted by Elaine Pomfrey)

The will to a system is a lack of integrity.

Friedrich Nietzsche


Fall 2001

Ode to a Besserwisser

By Robert D. Stolorow

There was a young analyst so fair,
With clear and distinct ideas most rare.
In objectivist zeal,
He knows the real Real,
Being wrapped in a cordon sanitaire.

Robert D. Stolorow and Ernest S. Wolf
in a casual moment at the 2001 Annual
conference in San Francisco


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