What is Self-Psychology?

In the 1960’s, psychologists began to notice that there were a group of patients that were not well described by current Freudian, Cognitive Behavioral, or Ego Psychology models. These patients seemed empty and devoid of internal objects, and came to therapy looking for some meaning in their lives. On the surface, they appeared to be doing well; dig a little deeper and there was a nagging sense of needing to be validated and accepted. They had little sense of who they were and what they felt, thought, or valued. They did not seem mental “sick” as it would be traditionally understood, but they experienced very little pleasure and suffered from true emotional emptiness.

Began and championed by psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut, Self-Psychology posits that most psychopathology originates from failures in empathy from a person’s primary caregiver. For some narcissistically oriented people, because of this mis-attunement in early childhood, they do not have the objects of their parents internalized, leading to emptiness and depression. According to Kohut, empathy and mirroring heal the narcissistically oriented patient and over time this creates self-objects that were once not there. Empathic attunement of the therapist to the patient is an absolutely necessary component of successful therapy.

If you are interested in depression counseling or marital counseling in the Newport Beach, Irvine or Orange County area, please contact Jennifer De Francisco, LCSW at (949) 251-8797.

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Chris B.5.0
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Kids are always hard and as a parent it's not always easy to see objectively what is really going on. Jennifer helped me talk through challenges/issues with my oldest son that were running through my head. In the end she provided me a solid perspective to build on and because of that I have been able to manage the situation much better. Easy conversation and very helpful.
Ravenna S.5.0
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Jennifer is such a wonderful and genuine therapist. She is extremely kind and understanding. She comprehends couple and mental health problems precisely. I would definitely recommend her to anyone that is seeking help.
Ravenna5.0
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Jennifer is such a wonderful and genuine therapist. She is extremely kind and understanding. She comprehends couple and mental health problems precisely. I would definitely recommend her to anyone that is seeking help.
Timothy 5.0
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I have been seeing Jennifer De Francisco for about a year, and she has helped me so much with the unhappiness I thought would never go away. Jennifer’s compassion and empathy made me feel safe enough to open up and talk about the uncomfortable feelings I didn’t even know were causing my sadness. With Jennifer’s help, I am now aware of my negative thoughts. Instead of avoiding them, I can work through them. She has helped change my life.
Denise5.0
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It was tough when we first started with Jennifer , but through difficult conversations and understanding some of the causes of how closed off we were to each other, we worked through it and are in a good place. The idea that we could break up is the furthest thing from my mind now, and going in to work on our relationship was the best thing to do. One of the things that really helped was that I felt Jennifer really cared that our relationship worked and that we improved things between us. I think that is rare, and always helped me not give up hope.
George S.5.0
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I know people hate to hear this, but relationships take work, especially with kids and stress. I would suggest relationship counseling for any married couple, even if it were just monthly or when things get tough. We continue to see Jennifer after our initial problem because it keeps us on track. Best of luck to all couples looking for help- Jennifer is a wonderful resource.