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Event Series Event Series: Self Psychology

Self Psychology

December 2, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm, Back Classroom

Fourth Year Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2022-23, 2nd Trimester — Fridays, 3:30-5:00pm
Donald Schimmel, PhD
Charlotte Malkmus, MA LMHC

View Whole Syllabus


Welcome to our course on Self Psychology. In this class, we will explore the central theoretical foundations of Self Psychology as originally conceived by its founder Heinz Kohut. In addition, we will discuss contemporary theories of Self Psychology and their application to current clinical practice. We will also apply these concepts to issues such as racism, social justice, and intergenerational trauma. Along with several of Kohut’s original writings, we will read articles by several modern Self Psychologists. In the final class, we will watch the film, “Reflections on Empathy,” Heinz Kohut’s final presentation. 

Unless otherwise stated, all articles are accessible on PEP-Web. Any article or chapter not on PEP Web will be made available as a PDF file prior to the first class.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, the clinical associate will be able to:

  1. list the central concepts of Self Psychology as originally conceived by Kohut and understand how Kohut’s ideas represent a paradigmatic shift from earlier theories of psychoanalysis.
  2. describe and define the following Self Psychological concepts: Empathy, empathic failures, vicarious introspection, optimal frustration; the secondary development of rage and aggression; description and diagnosis of disorders of the self; the “bipolar self” and associated transferences: mirroring, alter-ego, and idealizing; the “vertical and horizontal splits;” Selfobject transferences; how analysis cures through transmuting internalization, structure building, and the emergence of the nuclear self.
  3. apply Self Psychology to contemporary race and cultural issues, enhancing their capacity to work clinically with diverse groups of people.
  4. apply Self Psychological concepts to pathologies such as sociopathy, malignant narcissism, bigotry, and sadism.
  5. define the function and uses of empathy.

December 2, 2022 — Introduction

[55 pages]

This class will introduce the work of Heinz Kohut and the central concepts in Self Psychology. To help elucidate Kohut’s classic paper, and to make Kohut’s concepts more understandable, we’ll also read a chapter from Ernest Wolf’s book, Treating The Self. Wolf was a close collaborator of Kohut’s.

Kohut, H. (1968). The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorders—Outline of a Systematic Approach. Psychoanal. St. Child, 23:86-113.

Wolf, E.S. (1988). Ch. 3, “Basic Concepts of Self Psychology” in Treating the Self, pp23-49.


December 2, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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(206) 328-5315
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4020 E Madison St, #230
Seattle, WA 98112
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(206) 328-5315
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