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Stein, M.H. (1979). The Restoration of the Self: By Heinz Kohut. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1977, xxii+345 pp., $17.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:665-680.

(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27:665-680

The Restoration of the Self: By Heinz Kohut. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1977, xxii+345 pp., $17.50.

Review by:
Martin H. Stein

Interest in the self is very much with us. We are to live life to the fullest as individuals, a doctrine popularly expressed as "doing our thing," which includes not only loving oneself, being creative and joyful; it often encompasses activities that are disconcerting, at least to other, nonself, entities. Thought, delayed gratification, attempts to resolve inner conflict in reasonable ways tend rather to be de-emphasized as part of the relegation of secondary process to a subordinate position in the hierarchy of desirable developments in human psychic life. This trend has been associated with adverse criticisms of the methods and principles of modern ("Western") science, with its emphasis on neutrality and objectivity, and its rejection of much historical study.

Concern with the self has not been entirely neglected in psychoanalytic writings: Edith Jacobson's The Self and the Object World is a significant attempt to deal with problems of narcissism in the context of object relations theory; Otto Kernberg has published a series of papers dealing with the same theme, with even more emphasis on the importance of extremely early object relations. In the works of Kohut, however, we find the "self" dealt with as an entity separate and central in human development, its formation and growth perhaps even more important than later or parallel evolvement of relations to objects; and we are presented with a new term: self-object.

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