CREATOR OF SELF-PSYCHOLOGY
A Challenge to Freud.
According to Sigmund Freud, the Oedipus complex—a boy's aggressive impulse against the adult father and love for the mother, accompanied by castration fear—is the central conflict in a child's development. Nonresolution of this complex could lead to neurotic behavior in the adult. Heinz Kohut, the creator of a new body of analytic theory called self-psychology, focused instead on the narcissist—the person whose vital mental health dimension of self-love has gone amiss. His new explanations and treatment of the narcissist's problems bypassed the Oedipus stage and caused conflicts in the psychoanalytic community.
As the German son of a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother during the Hitler era, Kohut was forced to flee Vienna under Nazi racial laws. He traveled first to Britain, then to the United States, where he became a leading...
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