The New World of Self

Heinz Kohut's Transformation of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Charles B. Strozier, Konstantine Pinteris,
Kathleen Kelley, and Deborah Cher

The New World of Self: Heinz Kohut's Transformation of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, book cover and description.

There are two foundational thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud and Heinz Kohut. Though Kohut is much less well known, he revolutionized psychoanalytic theory and the practice of psychotherapy. In a burst of creativity from the mid-1960s until his death in 1981, He reimagined the field in a way that made it open, mutual, relational, and inclusive. His conceptualization of a holistic self that is in an ongoing relationship with others represented a paradigm shift from the purely intrapsychic Freudian model of id/ego/superego. 

In The New World of Self, Charles B. Strozier, Konstantine Pinteris, Kathleen Kelley, and Deborah Cher draw upon their deep knowledge of Kohut’s extensive and diverse writing to understand the full significance of his thinking. His self psychology released psychoanalysis from the inherent limits created by its theoretical dependence on drive theory. Kohut instead focused on immediate experience. He also embraced historical themes, leadership and culture, literature from Kafka to O’Neill, the psychology of music, much about art, and a theory of religion and spirituality for modern sensibilities. Acquainting the work of this eminent psychoanalytic theorist to a new generation of clinicians and scholars, The New World of Self unpacks the transformative research of Heinz Kohut and highlights his significance in the history of psychoanalysis.


"This book is a must-read for any serious student of self psychology and psychoanalysis. Strozier and his colleagues have penetrated the often obscure and difficult prose of Heinz Kohut to present a clear and compelling text that spells out the essence of self psychology and the implications of it as additional paradigm for understanding human psychology. Kohut located self psychology clearly in the context of both classical psychoanalytic theory and the other schools of psychoanalytic thought. As the biographer of Kohut, Strozier is a singularly qualified guide for this task, and he has executed it masterfully." 

David Terman, M.D., Emeritus Member of the Faculty and a former Director of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis

"Strozier is not only Kohut's biographer but his leading interpreter. He is clearer about Kohut than Kohut. This book by Strozier and his colleagues is essential for any grasp of Kohut's influence and significance for us now." 

Robert Jay Lifton, author of The Life of the Self and Losing Reality 

"The New World of Self is a brilliant, indeed decisive, book in the field. The interweaving of clinical material, theory, biographical vignettes, and historical settings is so masterful that it makes the book compellingly readable. I leap for joy that we finally have an excellent secondary text on Kohut’s extraordinary transformation of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and our whole way of thinking about human life." 

John Hanwell Riker, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado College, and author of Exploring the Life of the Soul: Philosophical Reflections on Psychoanalysis and Self Psychology 

"This book makes complex theory readily accessible in prose that has the liveliness and originality of good fiction while at the same time placing self psychology’s ongoing evolution in historical context. Strozier and his co-authors tell the story of how Kohut’s theory transformed psychoanalysis in the 1970s while laying essential groundwork for the contemporary theories that followed. New biographical details add further richness to this special offering." 

Judy Guss Teicholz, Emeritus Member of the Psychiatry & Psychology Faculty, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis

"Freud's extraordinary understanding of mind emerged in a particular culture and stage of knowledge. Adventuring beyond, into the new intellectual territory of uncertainty and complexity, has seen psychoanalytic dead ends and promising paths that petered out. Strozier, who knew Kohut well, has with his colleagues in this essential guidebook, produced a persuasive case for Kohut's insights, but more than that, a valuable intellectual sextant for the next generation of navigators of the human soul."

- Lord John Alderdice, FRCPsych, Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

"Strozier, Pinteris, Kelley, and Cher offer a fresh, engaging, and enlightening portrait of Kohut as the psychoanalyst who introduced empathy into psychoanalytic theory and practice. Kohut conceived of trauma, healing, and the development of the self in profoundly humane terms. Through its clarity of language, use of clinical and historical interviews, and organization of themes, The New World of Self offers psychotherapists of all persuasions and scholars interested in studying talk therapy practical and thought-provoking access to Kohut's transformative contributions." --

- Harriet Wolfe, M.D., President, International Psychoanalytical Association

"The New World of Self is a remarkable work that reads like a series of master classes on the essentials of what has come to be known as self psychology, founded by the grandmaster himself, Heinz Kohut. Charles Strozier and coauthors, provide a fascinating overview of the evolution of Kohut's transformative understanding of the self. After laying this groundwork, each consecutive chapter offers a captivating in-depth exploration of the vicissitudes of empathy, transference, dreams, sexuality, rage, and therapeutic process. Strozier and colleagues have brought Kohut's work into a truly modern-day context, making it accessible for therapists of many different disciplines and a treasured guide for any ardent practitioner of psychotherapy."

-Eleanor Payson, LMSW, author of The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

The New World of Self is available to pre-order from your favorite bookseller and online internationally from Amazon.

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About The Authors

Charles B. Strozier

Charles B. Strozier

Charles B. Strozier is a Professor Emeritus of History at the John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, a faculty member of the TRISP Foundation, and a practicing psychoanalyst. His books include Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst; Apocalypse: The Psychology of Fundamentalism in America; Lincoln's Quest for Union: A Psychological Portrait; and many other books and scores of articles.

                     Konstantine Pinteris                                     Kathleen Kelley                                        Deborah Cher

Konstantine Pinteris is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. He is a co-author with the authors of this book of several journal articles related to Heinz Kohut and self psychology.

Kathleen Kelley is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. She is a co-author with the authors of this book of several journal articles related to Heinz Kohut and self psychology. 

Deborah Cher is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. She is a member of Dr. Strozier's Kohut writing group and has co-authored several journal articles on psychoanalytic themes and, with Strozier, on political violence.

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