Kohut's Tragic Man and the Imago Dei: Human Relational Needs in Creation, the Fall, and Redemption

Volume
Volume 21
Issue
Winter 1993
Title
Kohut's Tragic Man and the Imago Dei: Human Relational Needs in Creation, the Fall, and Redemption
Abstract

Heinz Kohut posits three relational needs of the human person in order to become a cohesive self: mirroring, idealizing, and alter-ego. The first two are viewed theologically as pointing to the fragmenting effect of the Fall. The alter-ego need, on the other hand, is viewed theologically as the need for horizontal companionship, a need inherent in imaging a trinitarian God. In the Fall all three needs became frustrated, leaving the fallen person fragmented-as pictured so well by Kohut's (1977) "Tragic Man": a person needing mirroring, idealizing, and alter-ego relationships to become the cohesive self that Kohut advances as the goal of therapy and which results from the outworking of God’s grace in both human development and redemption. This article seeks to understand how Kohutian Tragic Man informs and is informed by biblical considerations of the creation, marring, and restoration of the imago Dei in humankind.

Author
Dr. J.L. Jensma
Pages
288 - 296
Price
Add to Cart $5.00