Volume 18 of Progress in Self Psychology, the last volume under the editorship of Arnold Goldberg, charts the path of self psychology into the postmodern era of psychoanalysis. It begins with Goldberg's thoughtful consideration of the several tributaries of self-psychological thought in the decades after Kohut and continues with Mark Gehrie's elaboration of "reflective relativism" as a self-psychological way out of epistemological quagmires about the "essential reality" of the analytic endeavor.
Clinical contributions offer contemporary perspectives on clinical themes that engaged Kohut in the 1970s: a study of the effect of "moments of meeting" on systems of pathological accommodation (Taerk); a reappraisal of empathy as a "bidirectional negotiation" (Preston & Shumsky); and an assessment of the diverse clinical phenomena that justify a prolonged "understanding-only" phase of treatment (Mermelstein). A case presentation of the interpretive process with a phobic young woman (Jenkins) elicits thoughtful commentaries that focus on conflicts of interests in the analytic relationship (Kriegman) and the role of empathy and interpretation in the therapeutic process (M. Tolpin).
The theory section of Volume 18 comparably charts the movement of self psychology toward a postmodern sensibility. Contributors reappraise intersubjectivity theory as a contextualist treatment approach consistent with dynamic systems theory (G. Trop, Burke, & J. Trop); return to Kohut's notions of selfobject and selfobject relationships, with special attention to the separate subjective and intersubjective components of selfobject experiences (Tonnesvang) ; and develop one of Kohut's early ideas into a theory of "forward edge" transferences that strengthen normal self-development (M. Tolpin). The concluding section on applied psychoanalysis features two papers that explore the strengths and limitations of a self-psychological approach to religious experience (Holliman; Brickman) and concludes with a study of the 1965 British film Darling as a vivid depiction of the contemporary "empty self" (Schulz). In all, Volume 18 is a richly insightful progress report on the current status of self psychology and a fitting capstone to Arnold Goldberg's tenure as editor of the Progress in Self Psychology series.
Progress in Self Psychology Series