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Teicholz, J.G. (1998). Chapter 16 Self and Relationship: Kohut, Loewald, and the Postmoderns. Progress in Self Psychology, 14:267-292.

(1998). Progress in Self Psychology, 14:267-292

III Self Psychology Applied

Chapter 16 Self and Relationship: Kohut, Loewald, and the Postmoderns

Judith Guss Teicholz, Ed.D.

Psychoanalytic History: Backwards and Forward

Postmodern thought has taught us to approach the history of ideas with a heightened awareness of cultural relativity, the subjectivity of the historian, and the nonlinearity of progress. From the concept of nonlinearity, it is not a huge leap to begin playing with ideas about the reversibility of time, so when I was asked to look at Kohut and Loewald in a historical context, I decided to flash forward rather than backward in history, to take a measure of their contributions. My plan is to discuss selected ideas of Kohut and Loewald, in relation to the writings of a small number of contemporary psychoanalysts, whom I have designated as the postmoderns.

As far as I know, there is no group of psychoanalysts who identify themselves specifically as postmodern (see Protter, 1996). Nevertheless, there are certain characteristics of contemporary life that have been labeled postmodern and that are thought to have had a profound impact on individual experience, affecting even the sense of selfhood on a global scale (Elliott and Spezzano, 1996). Describing this phenomenon, Anthony Elliott and Charles Spezzano point to the compression of space, the mutation of time, and cataclysmic forms of change as characteristics of postmodern life, which contribute to a widespread “sense of fragmentation and dislocation” (p. 59).


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