Search For The Real Self

James F. Masterson, MD
Free Press; Reprint edition; March 1, 1990
Search For The Real Self

While this book is a bit academic, it has helped many members rebounding from a broken romantic relationship with their journey of self discovery. This book will help you understand your behaviors in relationships and the driving force behind your behaviors. With this book you will better understand the defenses that help the "false self" prevail over the "real self" and how to develop the "real self" so that you can express yourself genuinely in your life. You will also know how to recognize these behaviors in others and know which people to watch out for and know when you are engaging in a destructive relationship. Drew Pinsky, MD (Dr. Drew, syndicated talk radio) also has this on his endorsed books list.

From the authoritative expert in personality disorders, Search for the Real Self is a thorough dissection of how one’s real self is developed, how it relates to the outer world, and how personality disorders are understood and treated in our modern society. Masterson show great perspective in statements like "It has been fashionable in some psychiatric and lay circles to blame the mother for whatever goes wrong in development. If blame must be assessed it should be placed on the human condition which requires such prolonged dependence on one individual [to be mentally healthy and balanced] "

Search for the Real Self describes where borderline and narcissistic personality disorders come from and the kinds of behaviors they lead to in adults. It is written more for therapists than those seeking self-help, but the writing is clear and will make sense to a layman. A lot of the ideas are applicable to all people, not just those with personality disorders.

James F. Masterson's undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame were interrupted by Army service in World War II. After the war, he earned a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He was long associated with the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New York, serving as the head of its adolescent program in the 1960s and 1970s. A trained psychoanalyst, Dr. Masterson was an authority on the narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. At his death, he was clinical professor emeritus of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He was also the founder and director of the Masterson Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Established in 1977, the institute offers psychoanalytic training at its headquarters in Manhattan and its West Coast branch in San Francisco.

Dr. Masterson was one of the first people to bring the psychoanalytic approach known as object relations theory to bear on the study of personality disorders of the self. In so doing, he helped widen the lens through which personality disorders are viewed beyond the classical Freudian one that analysts had favored for decades. Object relations theory was primarily meant to explain human behavior. But in work he began in the mid-20th century, Dr. Masterson came to believe that it also held the key to personality, in particular the origin and treatment of personality disorders. (The psychoanalysts Heinz Kohut and Otto F. Kernberg also played seminal roles in applying the object relations model to the realm of personality.)

Masterson helped psychiatry shift to offer more complex, more effective models in the treatment of personality disorders.

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R. Skip Johnson