Relational Withdrawal, Attunement to Silence: Psychotherapy of the Schizoid Process

Richard G. Erskine


This article describes the psychotherapy methods that were effective with a client who unconsciously relied on the schizoid process of splitting of the self. Harry Guntrip’s writings about the schizoid compromise and Donald Winnicott’s descriptions of the true self and the false self are discussed. Alternative concepts—the vital and vulnerable self and the social self—are presented along with the methods of supported withdrawal and therapeutic description.



Schizoid; schizoid process; schizoid compromise; true self; false self; Harry Guntrip; Donald Winnicott; phenomenological inquiry; therapeutic description; relational psychotherapy; countertransference; withdrawal; silence; attunement;inquiry; involvement

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