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Bornstein, R.F. (1990). The Kohut Seminars On Self Psychology and Psychotherapy with Adolescents and Young Adults edited by Miriam Elson New York: W. W. Norton, 1987, xiii + 318 pp., $32.95. Psa. Books, 1(1):79-84.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Books, 1(1):79-84

The Kohut Seminars On Self Psychology and Psychotherapy with Adolescents and Young Adults edited by Miriam Elson New York: W. W. Norton, 1987, xiii + 318 pp., $32.95

Review by:
Robert F. Bornstein, Ph.D.

The work of Heinz Kohut has been a major force behind a long (and ongoing) trend in the evolution of psychoanalysis. The effect of this trend has been to shift the emphasis of psychoanalytic theory away from a mechanistic, drive-oriented model toward a theoretical framework that emphasizes the development of the self-concept—rather than drives and impulses—as a primary determinant of personality dynamics (Bornstein, 1987). As a consequence of this theoretical shift, preoedipal issues have received increasing attention from psychoanalytic therapists in recent years, and issues related to infantile dependency and attachment have come to play a more prominent role in psychoanalytic theory and research (Bornstein & Masling, 1984). The dynamics of the transference relationship have been reconceptualized, alternative models of psychopathology have been delineated, and new hypotheses regarding the curative factors of psychoanalysis have been formulated (see, e.g., Bornstein & Masling, 1984; Greenberg & Mitchell, 1983).

Along with the writings of Mahler, Winnicott, Hartmann, and Kernberg, Kohut's ideas have been critical both in the development of object relations theory and self psychology and in the formulation of new models of character pathology and other severe disorders. There is no question that Kohut's work has been heuristic. It is difficult to imagine discussing psychoanalytic theory or therapy today without some reference to Kohut's work and the work of his students and followers.

Thus, an attempt to examine further, elaborate, and extend Kohut's ideas and formulations is a valuable and worthwhile endeavor.

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