Heinz Kohut. 1913 - 1981. Attachment theory & Psychoanalysis Heinz Kohut: Empathic immersion Kohut dealt with narcissistic PDs and discovered in the transference things which led him to a new view of the development of narcissism. Kohut saw himself as challenging theory from an
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Heinz Kohut: Empathic immersion
Kohut dealt with narcissistic PDs and discovered
in the transference things which led him to a new
view of the development of narcissism.
Kohut saw himself as challenging theory from an
empirical perspective rather than from a competing theoretical one.
He thought theory was getting in the way of
He took a stance of empathic immersion or
vicarious introspection in the psychic world of his
To Kohut, it is the construction of the self and its role in human affairs that dictates what is normal and abnormal – psychopathology is viewed as a disturbance of the self, with very severe
disorders rooted in very early disturbances of the mother-infant relationship.
Freudian theory would insist upon interpretation of
these various transferences, seeing them as
resistances to ego growth
Kohut found patients needed to experience these
transferences as a way of recouping missing
Change takes place by transmuting internalization
in which gentle and repetitive narcissistic failures
on the part of the selfobject build up the patient’s
capacity for narcissistic self-regulation.
Emphasized the role of interpersonal, pre-Oedipal experiences in the development of personality and psychopathology
Freud (1923): “the character of the ego is a precipitate of abandoned object cathexes and it contains the history of those object choices.”
Melanie Klein, W.R.D. Fairbairn
Utilized systematic observation to identify the stages of the separation-individuation process
Autism (birth – 2 months)
Symbiosis (2 – 6 months)
Hatching (6 – 10 months)
Practicing (10 – 16 months)
Rapproachment (16 – 24 months)