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Ornstein, P.H. (1974). A Discussion of the Paper by Otto F. Kernberg on 'Further Contributions to the Treatment of Narcissistic Personalities'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:241-247.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:241-247

A Discussion of the Paper by Otto F. Kernberg on 'Further Contributions to the Treatment of Narcissistic Personalities' Related Papers

Paul H. Ornstein

It was a pleasure to study the full-length version (this issue) of Dr Kernberg's rich and articulate exposition and to have read his own summary of it in the form in which we just heard him deliver it.

In this paper Kernberg has undertaken to summarize and further elaborate his ideas about narcissistic personalities, especially those that relate to the role of the aggressive drives and their derivatives in narcissistic disorders. He has done this by juxtaposing some of the key elements in his own theory and technique to those of Heinz Kohut, and by giving us a comparative evaluation of the two points of view, stressing agreements and disagreements wherever he sees them. This approach undoubtedly enlivens the current debate and I welcome the challenge it presents for an ongoing, reasoned scientific dialogue.

Kernberg's thoughtful paper does deserve a full, point by point consideration, but on this occasion time only permits (1) some general remarks, (2) the choice of a few specific theoretical issues for discussion, (3) a brief statement about technical principles and (4) a look ahead as to what might further enhance the careful building of useful bridges between these two, fundamentally more divergent rather than similar approaches to the understanding and treatment of narcissistic personality disturbances.


Psychoanalytic theories in general and theories of technique in particular, can only be adequately grasped and judged within the context of the unfolding analytic process, the centre of which is the transference neurosis.

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