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Mann, D. (1992). The Empty Core: An Object Relations Approach to Psychotherapy of the Schizoid Personality by Jeffery Seinfeld. Published by Jason Aronson Inc., New Jersey, 1991; 260 pages; £28.50.. Brit. J. Psychother., 9(1):99-101.

(1992). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 9(1):99-101

The Empty Core: An Object Relations Approach to Psychotherapy of the Schizoid Personality by Jeffery Seinfeld. Published by Jason Aronson Inc., New Jersey, 1991; 260 pages; £28.50.

Review by:
David Mann

Jeffery Seinfeld is an American psychotherapist working within the British Object Relations tradition, particularly with the concepts of Fairbairn and Winnicott. Seinfeld acknowledges his debt to Fairbairn, stating the fact tht since his papers in the 1940s nobody has mapped the schizoid mind as clearly as Fairbairn. Unlike Harry Guntrip, however, Seinfeld is prepared to have a critical appreciation of Fairbairn's theories. For example, he takes issue with Fairbairn who always maintained he could not see why a satisfied infant would need to internalise the object. Seinfeld suggests this view overlooks the adaptive, creative aspects of internalisation and the development of psychic structure. This is reflected in his clinical discussions and recommendations: the fundamental schizoid splits serve adaptive as well as defensive purposes.

The book, as the title suggests, is primarily an attempt to describe the clinical experience of working with schizoid states and the particular difficulties this entails in the psychotherapy setting. Seinfeld notes, as Fairbairn did before him, that schizoid states account for the majority of clients seen in psychotherapy. As he writes in the Preface (p. x): ‘The purpose of this volume is to show how to overcome one of the greatest obstacles to psychotherapy - the schizoid dread of potentially good object relations’.

Seinfeld's principal thesis is that at the heart of the schizoid mind is an empty core. The schizoid individual complains of feeling isolated, disengaged, unconnected and apathetic.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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