[Please note, this is the last volume in this book series -- future volumes available as issues of the IJPSP Quarterly journal]
Transformations in Self Psychology, highlights the manner in which contemporary self psychology has become, in the words of series editor William Coburn, "a continuing series of revolutions within a revolution." Of special note are contributions that explore the bidirectional influences between self psychology and other explanatory paradigms. The volume begins with Steven Stern's thoughtful attempt to integrate self-psychological and relational perspectives on transference-countertransference enactments. James Fosshage and Carol Munschauer's presentation of a case of "extreme nihilism and aversiveness" elicits a series of discussions that constructively highlights divergent perspectives on the meaning and role of enactment in treatment and on the so-called empathy/authenticity "dichotomy."
The productive exploration of theoretical differences also enters into the redefinition of notions of gender and sexuality, a topic of increasing interest to self psychologists. Differing perspectives, which give rise to differing clinical emphases, emerge in the exchanges of Michael Clifford and Virginia Goldner, and of Nancy VanDerHeide and Hans-Peter Hartmann. The special "contextualist" demands of work with intercultural couples foster a more integrative sensibility, with self-psychological borrowings from interpretive anthropology (Luis Rubalcava & Kenneth Waldman) and attachment theory (Sally Howard).
Clinical contributors to volume 20 explore various manifestations of a tension that permeates all analytic work: that between the patient's newly emerging ability to expand the self in growth-consolidating ways and the countervailing dread to repeat. Elucidation of this conundrum centers around a series of questions: Am I safe enough to allow the emergence of a broader range of affect (Walker & Dudley); Am I safe enough to connect with another person under traumatizing circumstances (Perlman); Am I safe enough to be simultaneously self-reflective and more vulnerable with my patient (Leighton)?
Enlarged by Arthur Malin's personal reflections of "Fifty Years of Psychoanalysis" and by book review essays focusing on the writings of Frank Lachmann and Robert Stolorow, respectively, Transformations in Self Psychology bespeaks the continuing vitality of contemporary self psychology. This vitality gains expression not only in the multidisciplinary purview of self-psychological theorizing, but in the cross-fertilizing relationships between self psychology and the clinical approaches and research traditions contiguous to it. These mutual influences tend toward clarifying juxtapositions, syncretistic sensibilities, and integrative theories, all of which attest to the fact that self psychology remains a young discipline very much in progress, one able to sustain a continuing series of revolutions within a revolution.