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Noted psychiatrist Daniel Stern brings together exciting new research on infants and the insights of psychoanalysis to offer an original theory of how humans create a sense of themselves and others. "This dazzling book represents a truly original, perhaps revolutionary contribution to psychodynamic theory and practice."--Arnold Cooper, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Notes, Diagrams/Charts and Index.
|Introduction to the Paperback Edition|
|Pt. I||The Questions and Their Background|
|Ch. 1||Exploring the Infant's Subjective Experience: A Central Role for the Sense of Self||3|
|Ch. 2||Perspectives and Approaches to Infancy||13|
|Pt. II||The Four Senses of Self|
|Ch. 3||The Sense of an Emergent Self||37|
|Ch. 4||The Sense of a Core Self: I. Self versus Other||69|
|Ch. 5||The Sense of a Core Self: II. Self with Other||100|
|Ch. 6||The Sense of a Subjective Self: I. Overview||124|
|Ch. 7||The Sense of a Subjective Self: II. Affect Attunement||138|
|Ch. 8||The Sense of a Verbal Self||162|
|Pt. III||Some Clinical Implications|
|Ch. 9||The "Observed Infant" as Seen with a Clinical Eye||185|
|Ch. 10||Some Implications for the Theories Behind Therapeutic Reconstructions||231|
|Ch. 11||Implications for the Therapeutic Process of Reconstructing a Developmental Past||256|
Posted June 8, 2009
Thirty-four years in "the game;" twenty-two of them with some form of certification or license. I told someone else in the game I was into the developmentalists. She said, "Read this."
There are good books, great books, and life changers. For me, TIWOTI is somewhere between the latter categories. (I'd give it =six= stars if I could.)
Stern not only effectively built a case for a very solid, neo-neo-Freudian nosology of very early life development, he ties it all together with what it needs to be tied up =to=: the clinical implications for those who will deal with the results... of the pre-cognitive core self, of a new way of looking at attachment, of maternal attunement, of purposeful consciousness, of agency, of the formation of the verbal symbolic -- and thus =cognitive= -- self.
His notion of the "observed" -- as opposed to "theoretical" -- infant could only have been devised in the new era of computer-facilitated, empirical research that had dawned in the decade preceding the first edition (1985). He makes no assertions without grounding them in statistics.
For those of us who thought we had it all "down" with the great Erik Erikson, John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Margaret Mahler, Melanie Klein, Don Winnicott and Diana Baumrind, this will come as a real eye-opener. Because Stern can =see= into the developing mind by virtue of a rigorous means of empirical observation.
Many (though by no means all) of the pure Freudian and British Object Relations theories fall like flies before a can of Flit. Here =is= the platform Terry Brazelton, Alan Schore and my cross-town colleague David Seigel had to climb up upon to provide us with all the hugely valuable insights they have added since this book fell in their laps.
Stern argues for parallel and continuous, rather than discrete and staged, ego development. He presents us with a neonate and infant who is "working on himself" at every level that his continuing neurological maturation makes possible for him. No linear phases of "trust here" or "autonomy there" or "initiative over there" (though I continue to =observe= that these processes and acquitions influence each other). He and his associates and contributors see =all= of the supposed Erikson stages in process from the git in =cyclical= and interactive, rather than linear and stair-step fashion.
(Watch a five-month old =after= you've read this. It's all so self-evident, I wonder now how I missed it for so long.)
His notions about the socializing influence of maternal mis-attunement rooted in the mother's own socialized "false self" had such immense ramifications for those of us who deal with borderlines and other dissociatives that I had to put the book down and wander around for a half hour in a daze of inter-hemispheric computation on that =alone=.
"Gradually, with the cooperation between the parent and the child, the false self becomes established as a semantic construction made of linguistic propositions about who one is and what one does and experiences. The true self becomes a conglomerate of disavowed experiences of self which =cannot be linguistically encoded=."
It hardly =gets= any more "essential" than that.