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Wolf, E.S. Meyers, S.J. (1981). The Bipolar Self. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 29:143-159.

(1981). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 29:143-159

The Bipolar Self

Ernest S. Wolf, M.D. and Sheldon J. Meyers, M.D.

Dr. Wolf stated in his opening remarks that this was the first panel on the psychology of the self at the American Psychoanalytic Association. He said that the psychology of the self is no longer in its infancy—its concepts are being discussed in a variety of clinical and theoretical contexts by a great number of psychoanalysts. The psychology of the self is now considered by many of our colleagues as a valuable addition to the traditional outlook.

Wolf made some general remarks about the historical development of self-psychology. Heinz Kohut's first book, The Analysis of the Self, was a transitional work in which the self could be understood metapsychologically in terms of narcissistic object cathexis. Further clinical experiences led to more fundamental reformulations from the self related to narcissistic object cathexes which developed into the psychology of the bipolar self, in The Restoration of the Self. The concepts of self-psychology are continually being revised, which results in changing definitions, even for such basic concepts as the self. Wolf likened the path of modification in the self to the revision based on additional clinical experience pursued by Freud.

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