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Encyclopedia > Heinz Kohut

Best known for his development of Self Psychology, a school of thought within psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory, psychiatrist Heinz Kohut's contributions transformed the modern practice of analytic and dynamic treatment approaches. The self is a key construct in several schools of psychology. ... Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a type of psychotherapy, usually meeting about once or twice a week. ... Psychoanalysis is the revelation of unconscious relations, in a systematic way through an associative process. ... Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that studies and treats mental and emotional disorders (see mental illness). ...


Early life

Kohut was born on May 3, 1913 to an assimilated Jewish family and received his MD in neurology at the University of Vienna. Like many Jews, including Freud, Kohut fled Nazi occupation of his native Vienna in 1939 and settled in Chicago, where he became such a prominent member of the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis that he jokingly called himself "Mr. Psychoanalysis."[1] May 3 is the 123rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (124th in leap years). ... 1913 (MCMXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday. ... Assimilation, from Latin assimilatio meaning to render similar, is used to describe various phenomena: The process of assimilating new ideas into a schema (cognitive structure). ... MD or md may stand for: Air Madagascar IATA code make dir (Microsoft DOS) or meta device (UNIX) in computing Managing Director, or CEO Maryland state code McDonnell Douglas aircraft McDonalds, a fast food restaurant Medicinæ Doctor, Doctor of Medicine (academic degree) Mendelevium (Md), symbol for the chemical element... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Nazism. ... Vienna (German: Wien ; Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian: Beč, Czech: Vídeň, Hungarian: Bécs, Romanian: Viena, Romani: Bech or Vidnya, Russian: Вена, Slovak: Viedeň, Slovenian: Dunaj) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Chicago (officially named the City of Chicago) is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. ...

Development of Self Psychology

In the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust, Freudian analysis was too focused on individual guilt and failed to reflect the new zeitgeist (the emotional interests and needs of people at the time). [2] Though he initially viewed the self as separate but coexistant to the ego, Kohut later rejected Freud's structural theory of the id, ego, and superego and developed his ideas around what he called the tripartite (three-part) self. [1] German soldiers at the Battle of Stalingrad World War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving the great majority of the worlds nations, being fought simultaneously in several major theatres, and costing tens of millions of lives. ... Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ... Look up Zeitgeist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... eGO is a company that builds electric motor scooters which are becoming popular for urban transportation and vacation use. ... Look up ID, Id, id in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... eGO is a company that builds electric motor scooters which are becoming popular for urban transportation and vacation use. ... In his theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud sought to explain how the unconscious mind operates by proposing that it has a particular structure. ...

According to Kohut, this three-part self can only develop when the needs of one's "self states," including one's sense of worth and well-being, are met. Kohut was thus the first dynamic theorist to emphasize the importance of relationships.

Historical Context

Kohut expanded on his theory during the 1970s and 1980s, a time in which aggressive individuality, overindulgence, greed, and restlessness left many people feeling empty, fragile, and fragmented. [1] The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... MacGyver - 1980s hero The 1980s decade refers to the years from 1980 to 1989, inclusive. ...

Perhaps because of its positive, open, and empathic stance on human nature as a whole as well as the individual, self psychology is considered one of the "four psychologies" (the others being Drive Theory, ego psychology, and object relations); that is, one of the primary theories on which modern dynamic therapists and theorists rely. According to biographer Charles Strozier, "Kohut...may well have saved psychoanalysis from itself."[3] Without his focus on empathic relationships, dynamic theory might well have faded in comparison to one of the other major psychology orientations (which include humanism and cognitive behavior) that were being developed around the same time. Drive Theory was first suggested by Robert Zajonc in 1965 as an explanation of the audience effect. ... In his theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud sought to explain how the unconscious mind operates by proposing that it has a particular structure. ... Object relations theory is the idea that the ego-self exists only in relation to other objects, which may be external or internal. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities—particularly rationality, common history, experience, and belief. ...

Also according to Strozier, Kohut's book The Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Analysis of the Treatment of the Narcissistic Personality Disorders [4] "had a significant impact on the field by extending Freud's theory of narcissism and introducing what Kohut called the 'self-object transferences' of mirroring and idealization." In other words, children need to idealize and emotionally "sink into" the competence of empathic, caregiving others; this allows them to thereby learn the self-soothing and other skills that are necessary for a healthy sense of self. Narcissus, the Greek hero after whom narcissism is named, became obsessed with his own reflection. ...

Though dynamic theory tends to place emphasis on childhood development, Kohut believed that the need for positive relationships does not end at childhood but continues throughout all stages of a person's life. [2]

In the final week of his life, knowing that his time was at an end, Kohut spent as much time as he could with his family and friends. He fell into a coma on the evening of October 7, 1981, and died of cancer on the morning of October 8. In medicine, a coma (from the Greek koma, meaning deep sleep) is a profound state of unconsciousness. ... October 7 is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years). ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years). ...


  1. ^ a b Flanagan, L.M. (1996). The theory of self psychology. In (Eds.) Berzoff, J., Flanagan, L.M., & Hertz, P. Inside out and outside in, New Jersey:Jason Aronson Inc.)
  2. ^ Elson, Miriam. (1986). Self Psychology in Clinical Social Work

External Links

  Results from FactBites:
Heinz Kohut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (423 words)
Heinz Kohut (May 3, 1913 – October 8, 1981) was a pioneer in the fields of psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis.
Born in Vienna, from 1939 Kohut lived in Chicago, where he established the school of Self Psychology as a branch of psychoanalysis.
One of Kohut's contributions is the idea that the need for positive relationships does not end at childhood but continues throughout all stages of a person's life.
Heinz Kohut The Making of a Psychoanalyst (2224 words)
Kohut was as complicated as his field of study and Charles Strozier has skillfully offered an intense look at an intensely lived life.
Kohut did not come out with his first book, or find the force of his originality, until he reached his 50's, and it is at this point in the story that Strozier's book begins picking up steam.
Kohut, by contrast, viewed rage as the result of a narcissistic wound, a blow delivered against our idealized sense of who and what we are.
  More results at FactBites »



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