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Herron, W.G. (2001). The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration: Rochelle G. K. Kaimer, Ph.D. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1999. 206 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 70(4):901-903.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(4):901-903

The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration: Rochelle G. K. Kaimer, Ph.D. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1999. 206 pp.

Review by:
William G. Herron

There is a fascinating intricacy in this book. For example, the many shades of identification pass before the reader in a manner that provokes rethinking about the imagined grasp of knowledge that the reader believed to be securely in place. Akin to the concept of “found object” (p. 3), discussed early in the first chapter, there is an atmosphere of discovery throughout. The concept of erotogenic sadomasochism is elaborated in terms of its relational aims; the utility of the concept of projective identification is expanded; containment is depicted in the context of selfobject needs; and there is a particularly insightful chapter on compulsive eating. All this is enhanced by the author's broad base of information and her ability to pointedly reintroduce the work of writers who are not prominent in the current mainstream of psychoanalytic literature.

There is added appeal from the author's willingness to describe her clinical work as an analyst, and in so doing, to highlight her struggles. Her discussions of what she has done that did not work are refreshing revelations, and I finished my reading of The Collapse of the Self with the impression that she is a talented analyst, as well as an inventive thinker.

Unfortunately, I found myself more fascinated by the author's approach to her various topics than I was with the book itself. Kaimer reports that one of her patients ultimately diagnosed herself as “a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” and this phrase aptly describes the book itself.

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