Skip to main content

The discovery of the true self—A case study

Abstract

This paper addresses the diagnosis and treatment of clients whose lives are constricted, and whose relationships are characterized by adaptations to the needs of others. This life style is believed to be the result of very early adaptations to pathological parental needs which interfered with psychosocial development and identity formation. It is suggested that Winnicott's theory of ego distortion in terms of True and False Self provides a useful conceptual framework for diagnosis and treatment of such cases. His theory is presented, followed by a case report, illustrating the application of these principles.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Chescheir, M. (1985). Some implications of Winnicott's concepts for clinical practice.Clinical Social Work Journal, 13, 220–224.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Erikson, E.H. (1950).Childhood and society. New York: W.W. Norton & Company (1963).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Freud, S. (1923).The ego and the id. New York: W.W. Norton & Company (1956).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Guntrip, H. (1969).Schizoid phenomena, object — relations and the self. New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Horney, K. (1937).The neurotic personality of our time. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Horney, K. (1942).Self analysis. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Kohut, H. (1977).The restoration of the self. New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Mahler, M.S., Pine, F. & Bergman, A. (1975).The psychological birth of the human infant. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Winnicott, D.W. (1960). Ego distortion in terms of true and false self. In:The maturational processes and the facilitating environment. New York: International Universities Press (1982).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The theory of the parent-infant relationship. In:The maturational processes and the facilitating environment. New York: International Universities Press (1982).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kahn, E.M. The discovery of the true self—A case study. Clin Soc Work J 14, 310–320 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01892592

Download citation

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Life Style
  • Identity Formation
  • Psychosocial Development