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Rector, L.J. (2003). New Bridges between Object Relations Theory and the Psychology of the Self: A Review of The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration by Rochelle G. K. Kainer. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1999. xiv + 206 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 39(1):162-167.
   

(2003). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 39(1):162-167

New Bridges between Object Relations Theory and the Psychology of the Self: A Review of The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration by Rochelle G. K. Kainer. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1999. xiv + 206 pp.

Review by:
Lallene J. Rector, Ph.D.

IN HER BOOK, Rochelle Kainer proposes a number of connections between Melanie Klein' object relations theory and Heinz Kohut' psychology of the self. The attempt to bring two such theories together in ways that will enhance both seems at first a dubious proposition, at least at the theoretical level. What two theorists could have more opposed and contradictory views of human nature than Klein and Kohut? And yet, Kainer offers the reader a creative clinical integration that she both embodies and illustrates to good effect.

The book is divided into three major sections: “Creating the Self,” “The Collapse of the Self,” and “The Therapeutic Restoration of the Self.” Throughout the volume concepts of self, identification, narcissistic injury, object, schizoid-paranoid and depressive positions, psychic structure, imagination, projective identification, empathy, and self object emerge in relation to each other. Kainer explicitly develops links between Klein and Kohut by suggesting (1) containment as a selfobject function, (2) “imaginative empathy” as a dimension of projective identification, (3) that narcissistic injuries precede or precipitate a collapse of the self into the paranoid-schizoid position (with rage as a common affect), and (4) that the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions have experience-near “state-of-being” dimensions in a given moment.

Kainer focuses on the central role of identification(s) in the formation and structure of the self.

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