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Self Psychology

  1. Marshall L. Silverstein

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0832

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Silverstein, M. L. 2010. Self Psychology. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Long Island University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Psychoanalytic self psychology was introduced by Heinz Kohut (Kohut, 1966, 1971) to better explain and more efficaciously treat disorders of narcissism, a personality disturbance that had met with limited success when treatment relied on principles derived from Freud's (1926) drive theory and its revision as ego psychology. Understanding narcissism was problematic for Freud (Baudry, 1983), despite several attempts to find a satisfactory solution. Kohut (1971) viewed his initial explanation of narcissistic personality disorder as an extension of classical psychoanalytic theory, and he thus remained faithful to the major premises of Freud's vision of mental phenomena and the psychoanalytic method of treatment. As his work progressed, however, Kohut's ongoing clinical observations led him to a theoretical viewpoint that departed from some of the major tenets of classical psychoanalysis, notably the prominence of the ego in drive regulation and symptom formation and the unique significance of the oedipal conflict in personality development.


  • self psychology;
  • selfobject;
  • empathy;
  • self disorders