(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
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
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