Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Kohut, Heinz

  • Joenine E. RobertsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_853

Heinz Kohut (1913–1981): Born in Vienna, Heinz Kohut emigrated to Chicago in 1939 where he trained in psychiatry at the University of Chicago. In 1946 he entered the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis where he would remain as a supervisor and training analyst for the rest of his life.

Kohut received wide recognition late in his life for the development of the theory of Self Psychology in which he replaced Freud’s drive theory with a focus on experience of self. According to his theory, narcissism had its own line of development. There could be no self without another; it was in relationship that the self was formed and developed. Hence, Kohut’s vision of treatment emphasized understanding the context of the patient’s reaction. For this, the analyst relied on a process Kohut called “empathy and vicarious introspection” in order to understand and explain the patient’s subjective experience within the treatment.

Kohut comprehensively outlined his theory in his 1968 paper “The...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Association for Psychoanalytic Self PsychologyBlanton-Peale InstituteNew YorkUSA