Psychoanalytic Publishers, Inc. Publications


Treating the Basic Self: Understanding Addictive, Suicidal, Compulsive and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity (ADHD) Behavior

Crayton E. Rowe Jr. M.S.W., B.C.D.

Following his earlier book, Empathic Attunement: The Technique of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, coauthored with David MacIsaac, Ph.D., Crayton Rowe furthers the understanding of what Kohut means by selfobject and selfobject transferences and how to work with them in the treatment. He teaches us how to listen to the deepest moments of the patient’s experience and how the mutual interchanges between the patient and the analyst lead to new perceptions.
View Table of Contents

In this book, Rowe has added to Kohut’s discoveries of selfobject transferences. Through exquisitely detailed treatment examples of a severely suicidal woman patient and a homeless man, Rowe shows how he came to his awareness of the undifferentiated selfobject transference that is crucial in understanding addictions, fixations, suicidal impulses, and various forms of compulsive behavior.

In four other treatment examples, Rowe illustrates how the recognition and analysis of this selfobject transference is also critically important in understanding less traumatized patients. He shows how symptoms of obsession with pornography, subservience, and preoccupation with unfulfilled wishes are efforts to maintain this fundamental selfobject experience.

As patients recognized the sustaining importance of the undifferentiated selfobject experience, and through the analysis of their need to rely on this fundamental selfobject experience, they were able to move forward in their development of other selfobject needs.

In two final treatment cases of emotionally deprived children living in a poverty environment, Rowe contributes to the understanding of the attention-deficit/ hyperactivity (ADHD) child. In his treatment examples, he shows how the symptoms of attention-deficit and hyperactivity similarly were efforts to maintain this fundamental selfobject experience. Once these children felt that the clinician was accepting of this undifferentiated selfobject experience, they were able to move forward in their development and function successfully at school.

Rowe emphasizes the importance of parental recognition and appreciation of the undifferentiated selfobject experience as fundamental to the development of other selfobject needs.
Then, in a broader social and political perspective, Rowe contributes to understanding how the pursuit of the undifferentiated selfobject experience can lead to both constructive and destructive ends.

Crayton Rowe’s Treating the Basic Self enriches the psychotherapist by providing a clear and fully encompassing summary of Heinz Kohut’s pioneering contribution. The book goes beyond the classic self-psychological fundamentals, however, by adding Rowe’s discovery of the most basic transference configuration: the undifferentiated selfobject transference. This advance gives the therapist new and additional power to heal the injured and ailing self and makes the book an essential part of the therapeutic armamentarium.

Ernest S. Wolf, M.D.

Treating the Basic Self is a blockbuster entry of a new publishing venture that will surely wake up clinicians who are interested in self psychology. Crayton Rowe presents us with a set of cogent clinical experiences that forces us to stretch our minds. He does so by allowing us to enter his own mind, an accomplishment achieved by his uncanny ability to do the same for his patients. It is an exciting journey well worth taking and one in which some old ideas are newly challenged.

Arnold Goldberg, M.D.