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Strozier, C.B. (1999). Heinz Kohut And “The Two Analyses Of Mr. Z”: The Use (And Abuse?) Of Case Material In Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 86(4):569-586.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Review, 86(4):569-586

Heinz Kohut And “The Two Analyses Of Mr. Z”: The Use (And Abuse?) Of Case Material In Psychoanalysis

Charles B. Strozier

Heinz Kohut was a man who seldom revealed much about himself. His own son stressed over and over to me in an interview how his father simply never discussed his childhood.1 His closest colleagues knew next to nothing about the details of his early life.2 Kohut told Susan Quinn, who interviewed him in 1980 in connection with the lengthy story she wrote about him for the New York Times Magazine, that “I'm not very revelatory about myself. Everybody has the right to privacy. And I know too much about myself to be honest.”3 Somewhat earlier Kohut told his young friend, Tilmann Moser, of his own “disinclination to speak about certain chapters of my early life” and how that “sequestration” helps him preserve “one of the sources of my creativity” (letter of October 27, 1973, in Kohut, 1994, p. 292).4 Kohut also pointed out how problematic self-revelation can be. It does not matter if one's motivations are not “sensational” and one aims for “other, higher, motives for his revelations.” There is also what one's revelations call forth in readers in the way of “a much lower sphere of emotions” than one ever intended (Kohut, 1978, 2: 728). A year later Kohut added: “I know there was no time in my life when it would have been possible to undertake something like it. I am far too protective of myself and with the impression I make on others to dare anything similar” (letter to Helmut Thoma, July 20, 1974, in Kohut, 1994, p. 311).

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