The Institute for Clinical Social Work

Syllabi Archive

CFDL 602: Psychodynamic Psychology IV: Self Psychology

Ph.D. Program - Distance Learning: spring 2012-13

James N. Lampe, Ph.D.

Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the basic concepts of self psychology. The works of Heinz Kohut and his colleagues will be used to examine the evolution of his central theoretical ideas and their application to clinical problems. We will approach the development of self -psychology with readings which summarize the original works of Kohut and later papers by his colleagues which apply his ideas to theory and the clinical encounter.


  • To achieve a working knowledge of the central concepts of self-psychology.
  • Recognition of self-psychology theory in clinical work and life in general as one contemplates how the mind works.
  • Application of self psychological concepts to clinical work.
  • Appreciation for the “location” of self psychology in the continuing evolution of psychodynamic theory

Required Text

There is no required text but below is a book suggested as a good primer on Kohut. There is one assigned reading taken out of this text and suggested readings. The assigned readings will be available in PDF format.

  • Siegel, A. (1996). Heinz Kohut and the psychology of the self. New York, NY: Routledge.


Students are expected to read all assigned readings. Students will present a summary of at least one of the assigned or optional readings. Please feel free to bring case examples to class that you feel might illustrate the concepts we are examining.

Evaluation of Learning

Attendance is mandatory. If a class is missed, a make-up activity will be negotiated with the instructor. If absence is necessary, students must inform the instructor by email, text, or voice mail. More than two absences may result in failure.
1. Each student is responsible for an oral presentation on one or two readings chosen in the first class. The oral presentation will:

  • Summarize key points
  • Explain concepts
  • Raise questions about the concepts inviting further explanation
  • Presentations should be 15 to 20 minutes in length.
  • Include a written copy of informal notes/outline regarding the presentation to be tuned in to the instructor after the presentation.

2. Overall class participation is evaluated as a portion of your final grade.
( There are two exams, a midterm and a final).

3. The midterm will be due one week after the fourth class. It will consist of 4-5 open book essay questions. These questions will be provided on or before the 3rd class.

4. The final will consist of an 8 to 10 page paper. It will be due midnight of the last scheduled class meeting.
Choose one of the following concepts:

  • Empathy
  • Selfobject experience
  • Self development
  • Transference
  • Narcissistic rage
  • Trauma
  • Disavowal
  • Restoration and vitality of the self

Using at least three authors, discuss the concept from a self-psychological perspective. The citations need not be from the assigned or optional readings. You may want to compare the similarities and differences between the authors or trace the development of the concept. Although you are focusing on one concept, other concepts may be included in your discussion.

Apply that concept to a case and demonstrate how your increased knowledge of the concept influences a specific treatment dynamic and/or assessment of the person.
This paper should be 8-10 pages long.
It is due by midnight on the date of the final class, sent in Word format.

  • Midterm is 30% of grade.
  • Final Exam is 40% of grade.
  • Class Participation is 20%.
  • Oral Presentation is 10% of grade.

A note regarding written work.
All written work should follow APA style. Please consult APA for citations. Papers must be double spaced. Please edit your work.

Class Topics, Assigned and Optional Readings

Class One: Empathy

  • Kohut, H. (1959). Introspection, empathy, and psychoanalysis: an examination of the relationship between mode of observation and theory. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 7, 459-483. PEP
  • Fosshage, J.L.(1995) Self psychology and it contributions. Int. Forum psychoanalysis: 238-245. PEP
  • Basch, M.(1990). Further thoughts on empathic understanding. Progress in Self psychology: 3-10. PEP
  • Geist, R. (2007). Who are You, Who am I, and Where are We Going: Sustained Empathy. Int. J. Psychoanalysis. Self Psychol., 2:1-26 PEP


  • Siegel ( 1996) Chapter 3 Early papers; emerging strands of a new cloth. In Heinz Kohut and the psychology of the self. 44-54. Database.
  • Kohut (1991). Chapter 17, On empathy. In Ornstein,P. (ed) ,The search for the self: selected writings of Heinz Kohut. Datatbase

Self Object experience

  • Siegel, A. (1996) Chapter 4, Toward a psychology of the self. In Heinz Kohut and the psychology of the self; 55-69. Database

Please note, this first class is a three hour class and thus has an extra required reading.

Class Two: Self Object experience, Continued

  • Kohut,H. (1991). Chapter 12, Four basic concepts in self psychology. In Ornstein, P.(Ed.), The search for the self: selected writings of Heinz Kohut. Database
  • Kohut, H. (1977). Chapter 4, The bipolar self. In The restoration of the self; 171-219. Database
  • Bacal, (1994).The selfobject relationship in psychoanalytic treatment. In Progress in self psychology. PEP


  • Palombo, J. (2008). Self psychology theory. Comprehensive handbook of social work and wocial welfare: Human behavior in the social environment. B.A. Thyer. New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons. 2: 163-205. Read pages 163 to 176. Database
  • Siegel,A. (1996). Heinz Kohut and the psychology of the self. Chapters 7 and 8.

Class Three: Development and Self psychology

  • Tolpin, M. (1971). On the beginnings of the cohesive self: An application of the concept of transmuting internalization to the study of the transitional object and signal anxiety. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 16, 316-351. PEP
  • Tolpin M (1978). Self-objects and oedipal objects—A crucial developmental distinction. Psychoanalytic study of the child; 167-184. PEP
  • Beebe, B., Lachmann, F.M. (1994). Representation and Internalization in Infancy: Three Principles of salience. Psychoanalyic. Psychology, 11:127-165. PEP.
  • Galatzer-Levy, R.M. and Cohler, B.J. (1990) The selfobjects of the second half of life:an introduction. In A. Goldberg(ed) The Realities of transference: Progress in self psychology, Hillsdale:The analytic press . Database


  • Tolpin, M. (1986). 10 The Self and Its Selfobjects: A Different Baby. Progress in Self Psychology, 2:115-128. PEP
  • Doctors, S. (2008) Notes on Incorporating Attachment Theory. PEP
  • Tolpin, M(1997). The development of sexuality and the self. In J. Weiner (Ed.) The annual of psychoanalysis, 173-187. PEP
  • Palombo, J. (2008). Self psychology theory. Comprehensive handbook of social work and wocial welfare: Human behavior in the social environment. B.A. Thyer. New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons. 2: 163-205. Read pages 176 to 183. Database

Class Four : Narcissism and Rage

  • Kohut, H. (1972). Thoughts on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 27:360-400. PEP *
  • Terman, D.M. (1975). Aggression and Narcissistic Rage: A Clinical Elaboration. Annual of. Psychoanalysis., 3:239-255. PEP
  • Ornstein, P.H. (1993). Chapter 12, Chronic Rage from Underground: Reflections on Its... Progress in Self Psychology, 9:143-157 PEP


  • Lachman, F.M. (2000). Transforming aggression. NJ: Jason Aronson, pp. 1-25. Database

(At the time of this syllabus was developed, the above is offered, pending the acquisition a copy of the text for inclusion in the retrievable database.)

Class Five: Transference I; Transference II

This is an on-site three hour class

Transference I

  • Wolfe,E. (1988). Treating the Self: Elements of clinical self psychology. Chapters 10, Selfobject transferences, pg. 124-135, and chapter 11 Countertransferences, pg. 136-145. Database
  • Ornstein, A. (1990) Selfobject transferences and the process of working through. Progress in selfpsychology, 6:41-58.PEP
  • Ornstein, A. (1990). Chapter 5, Selfobject Transferences and the Process of Working Through. Progress in Self Psychology, 6:41. PEP


  • Tolpin, M. (2002). Doing psychoanalysis of normal development: forward edge transferences. Progress in self psychology. 18:167-190. PEP
  • Tolpin, M. (2002). Chapter 11, Doing Psychoanalysis of Normal Development: Forward Edge Transferences. Progress in Self Psychology. PEP

Transference II

  • Kohut, H. (1979). The Two Analyses of Mr Z. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 60:3-27. PEP
  • Journal of child & Adolescent social work. 2:1, 36-48. Database
  • Bacal, H. (1985). Optimal responsiveness and the therapeutic process. In A. Goldberg (Ed.), Progress in self psychology. 1: (pp. 202-227). New York: Guilford Press. PEP
  • Stolorow, R. and Lachmann, F. (1987). Transference—the organization of Experience. In R. Stolorow, B. Brandschaft, and Atwood, G. Psychoanalytic treatment, an intersubjective approach. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, pp. 28-46. Database


  • Knoblauch, S.H. (2008). Attention to the analyst’s subjectivity…How are we doing? International journal of psychoanalytic self psychology. 3:237-239. PEP
  • Palombo, J. (1985) Self-psychology and countertransference in the treatment of children. Journal of child & Adolescent social work. 2:1, 36-48. Database
  • Fosshage, J.L. (1994). Toward a reconceptualization of transference: theoretical and clinical considerations. International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 75: 265-280. PEP
  • Fosshage, J.L. (2007). The Analyst's Participation in Co-creating the Analytic... Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 2:147-162. PEP

Class Six: . Trauma and disavowal

  • Basch, M.F. (1983). The perception of reality and the disavowal of meaning. The Annual of psychoanalysis, 229-263. PEP
  • Ornstein, A. (1994). Trauma and psychic continuity. In A. Goldberg (ed), A Decade of Progress: Progress in self psychology, Hillsdale, NJ: The Analyic Press. PEP
  • Goldberg, A. (1995). The problem of perversion. New Haven: Yale University Press. Chapters 7 and 8. Database
  • Stolorow, R.D. (2007). Anxiety, Authenticity, and Trauma: The Relevance of Heidegger's Exi... Psychoanal. Psychol., 24:373-383. PEP

Class Seven: Technique and contemporary thoughts in Self-Psychology

  • Ornstein, H, and Ornstein, A.(1996). Some General Principles of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy:A self-pscyhological perspective.In L.Lifson(Ed.), Understanding therapeutic action: Psychodynamic concepts of cure (pp.87-101.Hillsdale,NJ: The Analytic Press. Database
  • Palombo, J. (1992). Narratives, self-cohesion and patient’s search for meaning. Clinical Social Work Journal, 20 (3): 249-270. Database
  • Shane, M. and Shane, E. (1993). Self Psychology after Kohut: One theory or more. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Asssociation, 41, 777-798. PEP
  • Knoblauch, S.H. (2008). Attention to the Analyst's Subjectivity: From Kohut to... Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 3:237-239. PEP


  • Geist, R. A. (2009). Empathy, connectedness, and the evolution of boundaries in self psychological treatment. International journal of self psychology 4:2 165-80. PEP
  • Palombo, J. (2008). Self psychology theory. Comprehensive handbook of social work and wocial welfare: Human behavior in the social environment. B.A. Thyer. New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons. 2: 163-205. Read pages 183 to 205. Database

Please note that links to some course readings have been purged from archived syllabi. Electronic texts on the ICSW website are protected by copyright law. These files are made available strictly for individual, educational use and may not be copied or distributed in any way. Distribution of copyrighted material to non-enrolled individuals or ICSW students will be considered an act of Academic Dishonesty and be dealt with accordingly as indicated in the Student Manual. Federal penalties for copyright infringement may be found at