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Gordon, R. (1966). The self and the object world: Edith Jacobson. London, Hogarth Press, 1965. pp. 250. 35s.. J. Anal. Psychol., 11(1):80-81.

(1966). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 11(1):80-81

The self and the object world: Edith Jacobson. London, Hogarth Press, 1965. pp. 250. 35s.

Review by:
Rosemary Gordon

Jacobson's The self and the object world gives a most coherent and lucid description of the development of the psyche in terms both of its structural and of its energic qualities; it is written with special emphasis on the problem of identity, a problem which several psycho-analysts have, in recent years, shared with the existentialists. Jung seems not to have used this term, at least not with this particular connotation. However, his concept of individuation, a term used also by Jacobson, is quite clearly intimately relevant to this theme. To find this and other Jungian concepts in a book written by a psycho-analyst, who has inevitably started off with a different conceptual frame of reference, made me wonder how this had come about. Jacobson makes no reference whatsoever to Jung. I cannot know whether this is a deliberate omission and whether she has in fact been affected by a direct acquaintance with Jung's work, or whether she has arrived independently of him at some of the same concepts. If the latter is the case then such congruence is all the more impressive and convincing.

Jacobson describes identity feelings as characterized by the experience of coherence, continuity, and the uniqueness of the self; and she agrees with Greenacre that the feeling of identity implies the capacity to experience both likeness with and difference from others.

She summarizes her theory as regards the process of energic and psychic differentiation as follows:

In the first phase there is a diffuse dispersion of undifferentiated drive energy in a primal self, defined as an undifferentiated psycho-physical self.

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