In Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology: A Comprehensive Text, Frank Summers provides thorough, lucid, and critically informed accounts of the work of major object relations theorists: Fairbairn, Guntrip, Klein, Winnicott, Kernberg, and Kohut. His expositions achieve distinction on two counts. First, the work of each object relations theorist is presented as a comprehensive whole, with separate sections expounding the theorist's ideas and assumptions about metapsychology, development, psychopathology, and treatment, with a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of the theory in question. Second, the emphasis in each chapter is on issues of clinical understanding and technique. Making extensive use of case material provided by each of the theorists, he shows how each object relations theory yields specific clinical approaches to a variety of syndromes, and how these approaches entail specific modifications in clinical technique.
Beyond his detailed attention to the theoretical and technical differences among object relations theories, Summers' penultimate chapter discusses the similarities and differences of object relations and interpersonal theories. And his concluding chapter outlines a pragmatic object relations approach to development, psychopathology, and technique that combines elements of all object relations theories without opting for any single theory.
Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology is that rare event in psychoanalytic publishing: a substantial, readable text that surveys a broad expanse of theoretical and clinical landscape with erudition, sympathy, and critical perspective. It will be essential reading for all analysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers who wish to familiarize themselves with object relations theories in general, sharpen their understanding of the work of specific object relations theorists, or enhance their ability to employ these theories in their clinical work.
Table of Contents
The Origins of Object Relations Theories. The Work of W. R. D. Fairbairn and Harry Guntrip. The Work of Melanie Klein. The Work of D. W. Winnicott. The Work of Otto Kernberg. The Work of Heinz Kohut. The Interpersonalists. An Object Relations Paradigm for Psychoanalysis.
Frank Summers, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, is a training and supervising analyst at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School. A member of the faculties of the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, the Minnesota Psychoanalytic Institute, and the Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Institute, Dr. Summers maintains a private practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy in Chicago, IL.
"Summers' talent as a writer is considerable, and given the density and complexity of the material, hes work is quite readable, while also maintaining a high level of theoretical and clinical sophistication. In addition to his integrative introductory and concluding chapters, Summers explores in fine detail the work of Ronald Fairbairn and Harry Guntrip, Melanie Klein, D. W. Winnicott, Otto Kernberg, Heinz Kohut, and the interpersonal school...a carefully researched, very thoughtful, and highly intelligent in-depth study of a variety of perspectives...a volume that took considerable thought and an enormous effort to compile."
- Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D., JAPA
"[Summers] presents a detailed survey of major theorists and their adherents (Klein, Fairbairn, Guntrip, Winnicott, Kernberg, and Kohut), and compares their theories with each other and with those of Jacobson, Mahler, Bowlby, Harry Stack Sullivan and Levenson, Greenberg and Mitchell, and Gill and Hoffman. . . . For psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists seeking greater familiarity with contemporary object relations theories that might improve therapeutic effectiveness, this book is essential reading."
- Stanford R. Gamm, Readings