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Searles, H.F. (1965). The Self and the Object World: By Edith Jacobson. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1964; London, Hogarth, 1965. Pp. 250. $5.00. 35s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:529-532.
(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:529-532
The Self and the Object World: By Edith Jacobson. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1964; London, Hogarth, 1965. Pp. 250. $5.00. 35s.)
Review by: Harold F. Searles
This book portrays the development of identity, as formulated in terms of psychoanalytic genetic psychology, beginning with the earliest phases of ego-development through latency, adolescence, and adulthood. Dr Jacobson writes as one who has no superiors, and few if any peers, in her grasp of psychoanalytic theory, and the depth of clinical experience which is crystallized in this small book is manifested in the numerous points at which her concepts illuminate one's own experiences with patients. The book is, in fact, so masterfully and authoritatively written that the project of doing a more than merely laudatory review of it seems at first almost awesomely formidable.
Among the book's many other virtues, we find in it valuable—though at times offensively condescending—critiques of the work of Klein, Erikson, Lichtenstein, and others, and more appreciative acknowledgment of contributions to this subject by Freud, Greenacre, Benedek, and a considerable number of others.
As regards Jacobson's own contribution here, what I value most is her highlighting the essentially healthy nature of aggression, and the identity-building value of the separations which are necessitated by one's seeking adequate means for venting the aggression manifest in increasingly powerful and complexly differentiated ego capacities. All this I find a valuable counterbalance to my own emphasis, like that of Lichtenstein and others, upon the role of symbiosis in identity formation and maintenance.
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