Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Heinz Kohut on the Function of Defenses and Resistance

"The so-called defense-resistances are neither defenses nor resistances. Rather, they constitute valuable moves to safeguard the self, however weak and defensive it may be, against destruction and invasion. It is only when we recognize that the patient has no healthier attitude at his disposal than the one he is in fact taking that we evaluate the significance of 'defenses' and 'resistances' appropriately. The patient protects the defective self so that it will be ready to grow again in the future, to continue to develop from the point in time at which its development had been interrupted. And it is this recognition, deeply understood by the analyst who essentially sees the world through his patient's eyes while he analyzes him, that best prepares the soil for the developmental move forward that the stunted self of the analysand actively craves. Such recognition serves the patient better than anything else the analyst can offer." (p. 141)

Heinz Kohut (1984). How Does Analysis Cure? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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