Get access

One Case, Four Theories

Finding Matthew


Address for correspondence: Nancy VanDerHeide, Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 9012 Burton Way, Los Angeles, CA 90211. Voice: +310 859-7849.


In this chapter, clinical material illustrates key theoretical concepts and underscores the value of Heinz Kohut's radical approach to psychoanalysis. The psychodynamic treatment of “Matthew” spans over a decade and traces the therapist's immersion in four clinical modalities. The transition from Kleinian and British object relations orientations to a therapeutic style informed by psychoanalytic self psychology and intersubjective systems theory broke through impasses generated in the earlier chapters of Matthew's therapy. The empathic listening stance, the impact of the analyst's subjectivity on the treatment's progress, and the vital role of selfobject experiences in the development, restoration, and maintenance of an individual's sense of self constitute a few of the crucial and enduring curative elements brought to the field of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy by Kohut's pioneering efforts.