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Kohut, H. (1966). Forms and Transformations of Narcissism. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 14:243-272.

(1966). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 14:243-272

Forms and Transformations of Narcissism

Heinz Kohut, M.D.


ALTHOUGH in theoretical discussions it will usually not be disputed that narcissism, the libidinal investment of the self, is per se neither pathological nor obnoxious, there exists an understandable tendency to look at it with a negatively toned evaluation as soon as the field of theory is left. Where such a prejudice exists it is undoubtedly based on a comparison between narcissism and object love, and is justified by the assertion that it is the more primitive and the less adaptive of the two forms of libido distribution. I believe, however, that these views do not stem primarily from an objective assessment either of the developmental position or of the adaptive value of narcissism, but that they are due to the improper intrusion of the altruistic value system

Presented at the Sunday morning Plenary Session of the Fall Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, December 5, 1965, New York.

This essay consists of extracts from a larger study of certain aspects of narcissism, currently in preparation, which will deal more broadly and deeply not only with the topics introduced at this time, but also with a variety of other, related subject matters (with the phenomenon of narcissistic rage, for example; with the therapeutic implications of the theoretical views which are expressed here; and with their application to the investigation of some sociocultural phenomena).

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