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Self Psychology in Clinical Social Work


Miriam Elson (Author)

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Self psychology has a particular theoretical and clinical fit with social work practice, enhancing and deepening the treatment process with both children and adults and in individual and family therapy.

Here Miriam Elson elaborates upon this fit, largely through case studies which reflect her own empathy and respect for patients, her clear and sophisticated grasp of self psychology, and her clinical acumen.

The first section on theory discusses Heinz Kohut's ideas about human development, gender formation, and disorders of the self. In the second and third sections Elson presents a series of cases illustrating the treatment of self disorders in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. The patients are typical of the individuals who come to social agencies, out-patient clinics, and social workers in private practice. The final section includes a fascinating study of the James family and a discussion of applications in group and family therapy and to community services.

All clinical social workers and psychotherapists—whether just entering the profession, getting their first taste of Kohut's theory, or expanding a well-established base in self-psychology—will welcome this compassionate and clear exposition of the theory in practice.

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