Psychoanalytic Perspectives: Self Psychology
William Kelly, MD
Self psychology is a relatively new theory within the field of psychoanalysis. The name was chosen because of gradual recognition that the difficulties some people experience have to do with self-esteem regulation and maintenance of a solid sense of self in time and space, often referred to as self cohesion. Previously, these were considered to be narcissistic problems and usually not amenable to psychoanalysis.
Like all psychoanalytic theories, self psychology attempts to explain human motivation. Over a thirty-year period, Heinz Kohut and other self psychologists evolved a new perception, a new understanding, of what patients were trying to tell us.