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Levy, S.T. (1991). Self-Psychology: Comparisons and Contrasts: By Douglas W. Detrick and Susan P. Detrick. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press. 1989. Pp. 485.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 72:183-184.

(1991). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 72:183-184

Self-Psychology: Comparisons and Contrasts: By Douglas W. Detrick and Susan P. Detrick. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press. 1989. Pp. 485.

Review by:
Steven T. Levy

It has been a common criticism of the work of Heinz Kohut and subsequent self-psychologists that they have, in their writings, failed to acknowledge, in any systematic manner, the contributions of other theorists and clinicians who have addressed similar issues in related ways. Kohut, in particular, has been faulted for what may appear as a lack of scholarship in relating his ideas to the work of his predecessors and colleagues. The current volume brings together a group of authors knowledgeable about both self-psychology and other related clinical and philosophical areas in order to place self-psychology within contemporary as well as historical psychoanalytic perspective.

The work is divided into five sections. The first addresses the relationship of self-psychology to the work of Freud and historical dissidents including Jung, Adler, Rank, Ferenczi and Horney. The general themes of these chapters are presented first by Michael Franz Basch in his contribution comparing Freud and Kohut. Freud is taken to task for his reliance on nineteenth-century scientific ideas, leading to a mechanistic theoretical bias, for his emphasis on biologically based instincts as the only motivating force in mental functioning, and for insisting on the centrality of conflict during the oedipal period of development in the generation of mental disturbances. Each of the dissidents is discussed in relation to Kohut in terms of these themes, as well as in relation to their taking up the issue of the self as a central mental structure.

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