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Shane, M. (1991). Chapter 3 Commentaries: Selfobject or Self-Regulating Other. Progress in Self Psychology, 7:31-36.

(1991). Progress in Self Psychology, 7:31-36

Chapter 3 Commentaries: Selfobject or Self-Regulating Other Related Papers

Morton Shane, M.D.

Basch and Ornstein have taken provocative, opposing views on the question of whether it is useful to conceptualize object experiences other than selfobject experiences in self psychological theory. Basch answers clearly in the affirmative; Ornstein answers clearly in the negative; and each argues his position most effectively.

Basch asserts that an object experience refers to a situation in which a cohesive self expresses itself affectively with the affect itself, (i.e., the distress, the affection, the anger, the fear, shame, love, hate, or whatever), signaling an attempt to bring about a certain outcome or to solve a certain problem without the self being in danger of losing its cohesiveness. This is distinctly different from a selfobject experience wherein the self is threatened, and wherein a particular function is required to make up for an inadequacy in the self structure. The difference, then, between the object experience and the selfobject experience relates exclusively to the self-state of the individual, whether the self-state is cohesive or shaky. In this way, Basch distinguishes himself from those who would define a selfobject as anything that relates to the self, for by that definition there would indeed be no other experience; the selfobject experience would include everything.

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