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Kohut, H. Wolf, E.S. (1978). The Disorders of the Self and their Treatment: An Outline. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:413-425.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:413-425

The Disorders of the Self and their Treatment: An Outline

Heinz Kohut and Ernest S. Wolf

It is the aim of this survey to provide a summary of the concepts and theories of the psychoanalytic psychology of the self and of the clinical (diagnostic and therapeutic) formulations that are correlated to them. Although we wanted to be comprehensive and to convey a sense of the complexity of our subject matter, we tried to keep our presentation as brief as possible. While this goal needs no excuse, it may require a cautionary comment. In view of the fact that we had to keep our definitions terse and our formulations brief, we could not often indulge in the luxury of introducing qualifying statements. This is as we think it should be within the framework of a summarizing outline. It must be emphasized, however, that the paucity of restricting and modifying clauses does not imply any conviction on our part that we are presenting a finished or definitive system of thought. On the contrary, this survey should be considered to be a progress report about the present state of a step in the evolution of psychoanalysis that is itself only in its very beginning.

Why then a summary at such an early point? The answer to this question is simple. It is the very unsettledness of the state of scientific knowledge during a new developmental move that makes it advisable to take stock by dispassionately spelling out, simply and straight-forwardly, the clinical discoveries that have been made and the theoretical constructions that have been formed. This stock-taking must, however, not lead to a hardening of our convictions.

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