Self Psychology Page 





Self Psychology Page Visitors
Respond to
What is Self Psychology?

Scientific Responses

Self Psychology Page | What is Self Psychology?
Submit your Definition of Self Psychology

(Psychoanalytic) Self Psychology is a 'Geisteswissenschaften' subset of the dialogical that, in resolving selfobject transferences, enhances the cohesiveness contextualizing the nuclear self ( P. Tolpin ) or, in some instances, participates in creating a missing nuclear self. It is an ethical endeavor in that it uses empathically obtained knowledge to strengthen the capacity to live with both truth and illusion and with the fundamental, radical, and unavoidable uniqueness and 'infinity' of the internal or external Thou. Other 'flesh' is never reducible to self. Self Psychology is not an essentialism- it knows the ontogenetic sequence is always noself-nuclearself-cohesiveself and that nothing guarantees that this sequence will proceed or complete. Self Psychology distinguishes itself from other forms of psychoanalysis by the radical realization that the 'return of the repressed' is relative, does not wholly depend on energic relations and, in fact, that repressed material can 'recede' ( Kohut ) in an accelerating way as space debris from a space craft. Like a good analysis enhanced cohesiveness renders the recession unregistered.

- Paul Arnett, 11 August 1999

Self Psychology is a theoretical and treatment construct system that was developed and termed by Heinz Kohut. This construct system has one's phenomenal experiences and the subjective "I" as its focus of study. The mode of treatment has vicarious introspection and empathy as two main avenues or techniques that underscore the therapists own experience in the service of discovering and exploring the subjective "I" of the patient or client.

- Michael R. Rozich, MA/LLP, 1 July 1999

A sense of 'self' is a fundamental aspect of our life experience, and integrated with the totality of our life. It not only encompasses who and what 'I am,' at critical stages of our growth, but in addition it is the totality of the inner workings of our true-self. One could say, that within the development experience of the human, which I would argue lasts our entire lives. There are certain 'way points' that need to be arrived at in terms of realizing 'self-potential.' Significant others are an essential aspect of our self development. This of course commences at the very earliest stages of our existence with the critical relationship with our mother, and with this the influence of our father on both mother and ourselves. This is further complicated in the modern environment with the diminishment of the nuclear family, and the re-designation of what comprises a family, with or without societal support.

One could say, that each of us has a developmental path which is closely associated with the 'self potential' that makes up the totality of our being. So therefore while there is, no doubt, a classical developmental path that we as humans should follow, one that could be perhaps described as our 'species genetic path' there is perhaps overlaid on this the extra self potential that makes each of us unique unto ourselves.

Impacting on this, in the specific developmental period i.e. baby to child, child to pre-teen, pre-teen to teen and teen to adult is whether our self potential can be realized when viewed against the impacts on us of significant others, our environment, and our ability to realize potential constrained by the artificial restraints placed on ourselves through a global society that itself is going through unpredictable and far-reaching change.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, self-psychology is the realization of aspects, or the totality, of our 'self-potential' within the time and space which the lottery of life has allotted to us.

It may be that through being a square peg in a time and space round hole, that we will not be able to properly integrate all the aspects of our true-self that will lead to psychological equanimity. Or it may be that through a combination of our self-potential and the environment in which we develop that we will be able to do a 'good-enough' job so that in later periods of development the self becomes rounded towards full and purposeful integration.

I consider the greatest danger, the notion that not having developed properly in the earliest periods of our lives, that the situation is irretrievable. Our true-self could be said to constantly 'sing to us.' It strives to right that which was wronged, and this may exhibit itself in behaviour that eventually leads one to psychological assistance, and from there to the path of self development. But notwithstanding this, throughout life there is 'potential to realize potential.' This takes place when a sense of rightness develops from within, for whatever reason.

Whether my comments are acceptable are not, is in the eye of the reader. But this is my view.

- Barry O'Connor, 26 January 1997

Click here to submit your definition of self psychology

Published by 3b
All Rights Reserved