Saturday, December 3, 2011

THEORY IN BRIEF: Self-Psychology

I wrote this series--Theory in Brief--for students and practitioners of psychology/therapy; however, I believe it contains much interesting information for the layperson, especially those interested in psychology and/or philosophy.

NAME OF THEORY:  Self Psychology   

BASIC PREMISES AND PHILOSOPHY:  Empathically obtained knowledge strengthens the capacity to live both with truth and illusion and the fundamental, radical and unavoidable uniqueness and infinity of the eternal and internal self.   

Focus on fundamental needs for healthy development, particularly idealizing, mirroring and twin-ship (or alter ego) needs.  Peoples’ self-cohesion, self-esteem and vitality derive from and are maintained by empathic responsiveness of others to their needs.   

Subjective experience is at the center of clinical and theoretical concerns.  How and why we change and how and why in certain ways we predictably stay the same are considered.  The return of the repressed is relative.

FOUNDERS OR IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS:  Harold Kohut, Bowlby, F. Ornstein, F. Alexander

COUNSELING GOALS:  Facilitate clients’ understanding of relationship needs and personal deficits.  Help empower clients’ abilities and ways of making positive changes/transformations in their relationships, thereby facilitating positive change in themselves and their lives.

ROLE OF COUNSELOR:  Establish trusting relationship with client.  Sustain empathic emergence into the subjective perspectives and experiences of clients.  Place self-object transferences at center of analytical approach with empathic immersion to guide understanding and explanation.

EXAMPLES OF TECHNIQUES:  Acceptance: use reflective responses and active listening; Understanding:  therapeutic dialog, empathic or optimal responsiveness; therapeutic regression; vicarious introspection; empathy with therapists’ own experiences to explore and discover subjective “I” of clients

TERMS:  self-object experiences and transferences, healthy narcissism, empathic ambiances/failures, disruption/restorative process, fragmentation, self cohesion.



Yun Yi said...

very interesting post. a "right" self image might be the key to a person's confidence.
i wonder what made our personality type? i was a totally perfectionist before and still adjusting my degree of "perfection". strangely, i found the less serious one takes his/her life, the more self-confident one can be.
thanks for sharing!

PSACHNO said...

You ask a very important question: What makes a personality. No one can prove what it is, however, personally, I believe we are born with a personality and it is further influenced by environment.

I think personality is created in the genome.

I will post an interesting quote on perfectionism, from which I, too, suffer from time to time. However, yes we CAN adjust.

There is someone about losing ourselves in the welfare of others that gives up joy and reduces so many other issues.

The Bible says, place yourself before service. I have always balked at this, but with age wonder if it contains much truth.

Perhaps love and service are the greatest heights one can reach in this...and the reward will follow, either in this life and/or the next!

Yun Yi said...

"place yourself before service"
---from certain perspective, i agree with this. maybe, take ourselves less important, we can be more relax on our being imperfect..

however my life after my "middle age crisis" (which attacked me earlier than most people, so what i am really saying is i am still very young. lol) is more on my "self-love", other than loving others. i was a person who always put others before myself when i was younger, and i eventually found it was not really driven by true "love" but "insecurity". so after my middle age crisis i started focusing on my own more than ever, and found myself more confident than ever.

of course, everything is about perspective, so my focusing on my own doesn't really contradictory to the theory of "losing ourselves in the welfare of others". it is my belief now that only we truly love ourselves, could we love others.

PSACHNO said...

You make a very important distinction between giving service out of love, rather than out of wanting to be loved.

I fully agree that we must know how to love ourselves before loving others. Too many religions ignore this precious truth when preaching service.

PSACHNO said...

CORRECTION: I meant to say, "Place yourself secondary before service."

I don't think this means to neglect yourself, or love yourself less, but rather to put a priority on serving others, even at times if it means putting your needs second.