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In the ten years before his death in 1982, the American psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut presented a body of highly original clinical observations and theorising, creating a new conceptual lens - 'self-psychology' - revealing aspects of mental life that had hitherto remained largely obscure. These remarkable insights have made possible psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of those whose sense of self and psychic equilibrium might otherwise have proved too fragile. However, Phil Mollon argues that Kohut's views have been widely - almost scandalously - misunderstood. For example, Kohut has been misperceived as advocating gratifactory mirroring of the patient rather than analytic understanding. In fact, Kohut remained essentially loyal to the deep roots of Freudian psychoanalysis and its technical reliance on interpretation. His innovations lay in the content of psychoanalytic interpretation. With the aim of drawing out the true meanings and implications of self-psychology, Mollon examines in detail Kohut's own clinical illustrations. In addition, he explores the interaction between Kohut's work and other contemporary psychoanalytic points of view, as well as making links with emerging perspectives in developmental psychology and neurobiology. He shows that Kohut implicitly formulates a psychoanalytic process in which the limits of understanding are acknowledged and seen as crucial in allowing the continuously evolving unknown self to be released.