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Epistemological premise, developmental idea, main motivation in Jung's and Kohut's psychoanalysis: looking for some analogies


  • Massimo Giannoni


Abstract:  We are living the passage from the positivistic ideal to a new cultural climate which may be called post-modernism, subjectivism or perspectivism and in which we have lost the conviction that it is possible to reach an absolute knowledge. This climate can become a strong stimulus to a dialogue and a comparison among different psychoanalytical schools and between psychoanalysis and empirical research to find some of the reference points we need in our work. In my paper I will compare self psychology and analytic psychology in order to point out several strong analogies. Firstly, they are based on the same methodological option which gathers knowledge through an empathic understanding ‘from within’. According to both Jung and Kohut the individual has within himself a psycho-biological potential, an individual pre-formed core that asks to evolve completely: the central motivation of human beings is the realization of their own individuality. This shared theoretical and epistemological ground conveys convergences in the clinical field between the two disciplines (interpretation of dreams, respect of resistance, diminishing attitude regarding sexual drives, etc.) and specifically determines an attitude of the analyst, which respects the individual process of development, which pays attention to the inner experience, and which gives importance to the analyst's and the patient's subjective experience.