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Kulka, R. (1988). Narcissism and Neurosis—An Opportunity for Integration in Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:521-533.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:521-533

Narcissism and Neurosis—An Opportunity for Integration in Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique

Raanan Kulka


It has been fifteen years since Kohut's clinical discoveries irrupted into psychoanalytic thinking and aroused enthusiastic and favourable responses as well as massive rejection.

The theoretical crystallization of the psychology of the self into a new psychoanalytic metapsychology has brought about an acute polarization in the psychoanalytic movement which might still lead to a serious rupture or, conversely, might bring about—as a counterreaction to the revolutionary innovation—the abandonment of a whole sphere of the human psyche which has the means of enriching psychoanalysis both as a psychological theory and as a unique clinical method of treatment.

This paper is an attempt to map out the gap between the 'traditional' and the Kohutian approaches as it is constituted in four major areas: the sources of human motivation; the sources of normal mental development and psychopathology; the status of the object in the life of the individual; and the goals of psychoanalytic therapy.

In each sphere a theoretical conceptualization for the integration of the two approaches is suggested, and the application of this synthesis is presented in the clinical arena of the neurosis through specific therapeutic tools demonstrated by clinical material.

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