self-psychology A development in American psychoanalysis pioneered by H. Kohut (The Analysis of the Self, 1971) which shifts the focus of analysis from the ego to the self—basically one's sense of wholeness and togetherness. This means in practice an encouragement of narcissistic grandiosity which, it is argued, is able to modify itself as it comes into contact with the outside world. The therapist adopts an empathic rather than an analytic attitude to the patient. Daniel Stern, a developmental psychologist, has developed a theory of child development around these ideas which emphasizes the carer's ability to understand and communicate with the infant (The Interpersonal World of the Infant, 1985).
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