The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration

1st Edition

By Rochelle G. K. Kainer


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Paperback: 9781138005556
pub: 2014-09-11
Hardback: 9780881633177
pub: 1999-07-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203779996
pub: 2013-06-17
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The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration is a rich and clinically detailed account of the therapeutic restoration of the self, and speaks to the healing process for analysts themselves that follows from Rochelle Kainer's sensitive integration of heretofore dissociated realms of psychoanalytic theory. In describing how the reworking of pathological internal object relationships occurs in conjunction with the transformation of selfobject failures, Kainer brings new insight to bear on the healing of the self at the same time as she contributes to healing the historic split in psychoanalysis between Kleinian theory and self psychology.

Extensive case illustrations, refracted through the lens of her uniquely integrative perspective, bring refreshing clarity to elusive theoretical concepts. Of special note is Kainer's distinction between normal and pathological identifications. Equally valuable is her introduction of the term "imaginative empathy" to characterize the kind of attunement that is integral to analytic healing; her nuanced description of the relation between imaginative empathy and projective identification bridges the worlds of Kleinian theory and self psychology in an original and compelling way. She ends by spelling out how her theoretical viewpoint leads to a more comprehensive understanding of various clinical phenomena.

The Collapse of the Self and Its Therapeutic Restoration, is a sophisticated yet accessible work, gracefully written, that elaborates a relational theory of thinking, of creativity, of identification, and of the formation and healing of psychic structure. Kainer's ability to bring the often dissonant voices of different psychoanalytic schools into theoretical harmony as she develops her viewpoint conveys both the breadth of intellectual engagement with colleagues and the depth of clinical engagement with patients that inform her project from beginning to end.


"In the best tradition of the psychoanalytic pioneers, Rochelle Kainer takes us on a journey into the interior. Supported by her own extensive clinical experience, her carefully chosen examples from art and literature, and her deft use of classical and contemporary theories, Kainer reveals previously hidden features of the psychic terrain. She is a boldly original guide who helps the reader explore the vicissitudes of identifications and the roles of good and bad objects in the formation of the self. Of particular interest to clinicians attempting to alleviate human suffering are Kainer's exploration of developmental processes gone awry and her illumination of the therapeutic action of the clinical encounter leading to the restoration of the self."

- James W. Barron, Ph.D., Editor, Self Analysis: Critical Inquiries, Personal Vision (Analytic Press, 1993)

"Rochelle Kainer is on the very short list of psychoanalytic thinkers who dare to speak of self psychology and neo-Kleinian theory in the same breath. In this ambitious and courageous book, she deftly marries concepts from these two seemingly incompatible schools, producing some illuminating conceptual offspring in the process."

- Susan H. Sands, Ph.D., Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California

"Owing to its integration of self-psychology and object relations theory, this book will be of interest to practitioners of both approaches as well as those who are interested in using both approaches within a relational perspective. A very rich, imaginative, and sound work."

- Michael Eigen, Ph.D., National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents

Foreword - James Grotstein


I. Creating the Self

1. Found Objects: On the Nature of Identification

2. Falling in Love with a Work of Art: Identifications in the Creation of the Ideal Self

3. Sadomasochistic Identifications: The Formation of the Pathological Part of the Self

II. The Collapse of the Self

4. Narcissistic Injury and its Relation to Paranoid/Schizoid Collapse

5. Compulsive Eating: Autistic Self-Soothing in a Neurotic Structure

6. Hidden Spaces: Psychotic Residues in a Neurotic Structure

7. From "Hysteroid Dysphoria" to "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder": A Case for Psychoanalysis in the Era of Neurobiology

8. The Role of Projective Identification in Imaginative Empathy

9. Psychic Catastrophe and the Premature Birth of the Self: Implications for Treatment

10. - Lifting the Shadow of the Object: Reworking Pathological Internal Object-Relationships and Transforming Selfobject Failures

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Applied Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Lifespan Development