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Janna Sandmeyer, Ph.D.
“Combating Homophobia and Heterosexism in a Seminal Article in the Self Psychology Canon: Rethinking Jules Miller’s ‘How Kohut Actually Worked’ Presented at the American Psychoanalytic Association Annual Meeting, February 2018

What diversity/subjectivity topics are they discussing?

Sandmeyer looks at a paper describing supervision with Kohut in which he reveals hurtful attitudes about sexual orientation. She discusses the ways he pathologizes bi- and homosexuality without discarding Kohut whole-cloth.

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Janna Sandmeyer, Chair of the Contemporary Approaches to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy training program, won the 2018 Ralph Roughton Award of the American Psychoanalytic Association for her paper, “Combating Homophobia in a Seminal Article in the Self Psychology Canon: Rethinking Jule Miller’s ‘How Kohut Actually Worked.’” The Ralph Roughton Paper Award is given to an unpublished manuscript that makes an original and outstanding contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding and/or treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans, or gender-variant people. She will present this paper and receive her award at the February 2018 annual meeting of the APsaA. See:

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“Jule Miller’s (1985) seminal article entitled “How Kohut Actually Worked,” remains to this day an invaluable window into Kohut’s clinical perspective toward the end of his life. It is especially relevant when teaching introduction to Self Psychology because it is accessible, jargon-free, and rich with clinical wisdom that is unique to Kohut’s way of thinking: It clearly demarcates his self psychology from a classical analytic approach. The article is structured such that Miller, a classically trained analyst, presents process material to Kohut, and Kohut explains to Miller how he would approach the material from a self psychological standpoint, thereby juxtaposing self psychology with a classical analytic stance. However, one disturbing element to the article – “cringe- worthy,” as one of my students put it – is Kohut and Miller’s approach to the homosexual material as described by the patient in the patient’s experience of self.”

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