The self is a key construct in several schools of psychology, especially in Self Psychology which was founded by Heinz Kohut and is the basis for most schools of body psychotherapy. Ideas are different for many theorist and in fields of study, but in general the self refers to the conscious reflective personality of a person. If we develop a higher thinking for ourselves, the beliefs and values between the real and ideal self will expand, and therefore we can make more developed morals and reasons, when we know who we are. The study of the self involves significant methodological problems, especially concerning consciousness. Some of these are taken up in philosophy of mind and metaphysics.
Major conceptualizations within the theory of the self include:
- Laing's "divided self" theory of schizophrenia
- Self Psychology by Heinz Kohut
- self control
- self disclosure
- self harm
- self help
- self image
- self monitoring
- self-perception theory of attitude change
- self-regulated learning
- self talk
A critique of the concept of selfhood
'Selfhood' or complete autonomy is a uniquely Western approach to psychology and models of self are employed constantly in areas such as psychotherapy and self help. Edward E. Sampson (1989) argues that the preoccupation with independence is harmful in that it creates racial, sexual and national divides and does not allow for observation of the self-in-other and other-in-self.
The very notion of selfhood is an attacked idea because it is seen as necessary for the mechanisms of advanced capitalism to function. In Inventing our selves: Psychology, power, and personhood, Nikolas Rose (1998) proposes that psychology is now employed as a technology that allows humans to buy into an invented and arguably false sense of self. Rose sees that freedom assists governments and exploitation.
It is said by some that for an individual to talk about, explain, understand or judge oneself is linguistically impossible, since it requires the self to understand its self. This is seen as philosophically invalid, being self-referential, or reification, also known as a Circular argument. Thus, if actions arise so that the self attempts self-explanation, confusion may well occur within linguistic mental pathways and processes.
- List of basic self topics
- Identity (social science)
- Self (philosophy)
- Self (sociology)
- Self Psychology
- Definitions of Various Self Constructs - Self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-confidence & self-concept
- Theory of Self - Proposed by an autistic to explain autism
- Discussion of Self – Page of the Emotional Competency website.cs:Bytostné Já
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