April 04, 2008

News Story: Otto Kernberg

'Most-Cited Psychoanalyst' Continues Pioneering Ways

Otto Kernberg, M.D., packs quite a punch in the worlds of psychoanalysis and psychiatry. Perhaps his greatest contribution is that he is subjecting psychoanalysis to serious scientific research...

"His most important contribution, or at least the one that has meant the most to me, is that he excited an interest in, and an enthusiasm for, treating borderline patients by a whole generation of clinicians who previously had been both disinterested and unenthusiastic," John Gunderson, M.D., said. In addition to being a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Gunderson is director of the Borderline Treatment and Research Center at McLean Hospital.

Kernberg has also made tremendous contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of narcissistic personality disorder, his colleagues said. "Many of his ideas about the diagnosis have shaped the DSM-IV category of narcissistic personality disorder," Gabbard said.

Indeed, Yeomans said, "Otto Kernberg helped psychoanalytic thinking move toward the whole population of personality-disordered patients.. .to make it extremely useful working with that population."

From Object to Love Relations

However, he has not limited his interests to object relations and personality disorders. He has applied psychoanalytic understanding to large-group behavior and institutions, has written about couples and love relations, and is especially fascinated by aggression. Which brought up an amusing anecdote from yeomans: "A lot of analysts and psychiatrists say, 'Sure, Kernberg is very smart, but he's always talking about aggression!' So one day I asked him, 'Otto, are you really obsessed with aggression?' To which he replied (I loved his answer): 'Only to the extent that it inhibits libidinal love expression!'"............

Visit original publication site to read article in its entirety: Psychiatric News

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