What is Self Psychology?
Self Psychology is a form of psychodynamic psychotherapy that posits that an individual’s self-cohesion, self-esteem, and vitality derive from and are maintained by the attuned responsiveness of others to his/her needs. Based on a modern psychoanalytic theory conceived by Heinz Kohut in Chicago in the 1960’s through 1980’s, it continues to grow and develop nurtured by the vibrant input from theorists and practitioners working around the world.
How is it different for the therapist and the client?
In self psychology, the therapist makes the effort to understand the client from within the client’s own subjective experience and viewpoint. The self forms the central focus of this theory, and is understood as the vital, cohesive, feeling of ongoingness, agency, and self-worth. Through appropriate and attuned responsiveness, the therapist promotes the growth of critical aspects of the self. These aspects support the client’s ambitions and ideas, give expression to their talents and skills, and aid healthy relationships to be sustained.
Self psychology is a developmental psychology which derives much of its understanding of the developing psyche from contemporary infant research and neuroscience. In self psychology presenting issues or symptoms are understood to represent the effects of lifespan experiences which either fostered or hindered with the achievement of healthy growth and psychological development and the maintenance of self-cohesion. Self psychology is a relational psychology in that it maintains that human psychological functioning is always embedded in social interactions.
See the Resources and Training page for a more extensive reading list about self psychology.
Other websites re Self Psychology
Anatolia Association for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies: A Learning Place for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology (AAPP): Ankara, Turkey
Associação Brasileira para o Estudo da Psicologia Psicanalítica do Self (Brazilian Association for the Study of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology) (ABEPPS): Brazil
Instituto Di Specializzaione In Psicologia Psicoanalitica Dez Se E Psicoanalisi Relazionale (ISIPSE): Italy
Wiener Kreis für Psychoanalyse und Selbstpsychologie (Vienna Circle for Psychoanalysis and Self Psychology) (VCPSP): Vienna, Austria