The Shattered Identity - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin


Butrepparttar unconscious is as much a part of one's self-identity as one's conscious. What if, due to a mishap,repparttar 126202 roles were reversed? What if Dan's conscious part were to become his unconscious and his unconscious part - his conscious? What if all his conscious memories, drives, fears, wishes, fantasies, and hopes - were to become unconscious while his repressed memories, drives, etc. - were to become conscious? Would we still say that it is "the same" Dan and that he retains his self-identity? Not very likely. And yet, one's (unremembered) unconscious - for instance,repparttar 126203 conflict between id and ego - determines one's personality and self-identity.

The main contribution of psychoanalysis and later psychodynamic schools isrepparttar 126204 understanding that self-identity is a dynamic, evolving, ever-changing construct - and not a static, inertial, and passive entity. It casts doubt overrepparttar 126205 meaningfulness ofrepparttar 126206 question with which we endedrepparttar 126207 exposition: "Who, exactly, then, is Dan?" Dan is different at different stages of his life (Erikson) and he constantly evolves in accordance with his innate nature (Jung), past history (Adler), drives (Freud), cultural milieu (Horney), upbringing (Klein, Winnicott), needs (Murray), orrepparttar 126208 interplay with his genetic makeup. Dan is not a thing - he is a process. Even Dan's personality traits and cognitive style, which may well be stable, are often influenced by Dan's social setting and by his social interactions.

It would seem that having a memory is a necessary but insufficient condition for possessing a self-identity. One cannot remember one's unconscious states (though one can remember their outcomes). One often forgets events, names, and other information even if it was conscious at a given time in one's past. Yet, one's (unremembered) unconscious is an integral and important part of one's identity and one's self. The remembered as well asrepparttar 126209 unremembered constitute one's self-identity.

IV. The Memory Link

Hume said that to be considered in possession of a mind, a creature needs to have a few states of consciousness linked by memory in a kind of narrative or personal mythology. Can this conjecture be equally applied to unconscious mental states (e.g. subliminal perceptions, beliefs, drives, emotions, desires, etc.)?

In other words, can we rephrase Hume and say that to be considered in possession of a mind, a creature needs to have a few states of consciousness and a few states ofrepparttar 126210 unconscious - all linked by memory into a personal narrative? Isn't it a contradiction in terms to rememberrepparttar 126211 unconscious?

The unconscious andrepparttar 126212 subliminal are instance ofrepparttar 126213 general category of mental phenomena which are not states of consciousness (i.e., are not conscious). Sleep and hypnosis are two others. But so are "background mental phenomena" - e.g., one holds onto one's beliefs and knowledge even when one is not aware (conscious) of them at every given moment. We know that an apple will fall towardsrepparttar 126214 earth, we know how to drive a car ("automatically"), and we believe thatrepparttar 126215 sun will rise tomorrow, even though we do not spend every second of our waking life consciously thinking about falling apples, driving cars, orrepparttar 126216 position ofrepparttar 126217 sun.

Yet,repparttar 126218 fact that knowledge and beliefs and other background mental phenomena are not constantly conscious - does not mean that they cannot be remembered. They can be remembered either by an act of will, or in (sometimes an involuntary) response to changes inrepparttar 126219 environment. The same applies to all other unconscious content. Unconscious content can be recalled. Psychoanalysis, for instance, is about re-introducing repressed unconscious content torepparttar 126220 patient's conscious memory and thus making it "remembered".

In fact, one's self-identity may be such a background mental phenomenon (always there, not always conscious, not always remembered). The acts of will which bring it torepparttar 126221 surface are what we call "memory" and "introspection".

This would seem to imply that having a self-identity is independent of having a memory (orrepparttar 126222 ability to introspect). Memory is justrepparttar 126223 mechanism by which one becomes aware of one's background, "always-on", and omnipresent (all-pervasive) self-identity. Self-identity isrepparttar 126224 object and predicate of memory and introspection. It is as though self-identity were an emergent extensive parameter ofrepparttar 126225 complex human system - measurable byrepparttar 126226 dual techniques of memory and introspection.

Narcissism - Treatment Modalities and Therapies - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Question:

Isrepparttar Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) more amenable to Cognitive-Behavioural therapies or to Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic ones?

Answer:

Narcissism pervadesrepparttar 126201 entire personality. It is all-pervasive. Being a narcissist is akin to being an alcoholic but much more so. Alcoholism is an impulsive behaviour. Narcissists exhibit dozens of similarly reckless behaviours, some of them uncontrollable (like their rage,repparttar 126202 outcome of their wounded grandiosity). Narcissism is not a vocation. Narcissism resembles depression or other disorders and cannot be changed at will.

Adult pathological narcissism is no more "curable" thanrepparttar 126203 entirety of one's personality is disposable. The patient is a narcissist. Narcissism is more akin torepparttar 126204 colour of one's skin rather than to one's choice of subjects atrepparttar 126205 university.

Moreover,repparttar 126206 Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is frequently diagnosed with other, even more intractable personality disorders, mental illnesses, and substance abuse.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (CBTs)

The CBTs postulate that insight even if merely verbal and intellectual is sufficient to induce an emotional outcome. Verbal cues, analyses of mantras we keep repeating ("I am ugly", "I am afraid no one would like to be with me"),repparttar 126207 itemizing of our inner dialogues and narratives and of our repeated behavioural patterns (learned behaviours) coupled with positive (and, rarely, negative) reinforcements are used to induce a cumulative emotional effect tantamount to healing.

Psychodynamic theories rejectrepparttar 126208 notion that cognition can influence emotion. Healing requires access to andrepparttar 126209 study of much deeper strata by both patient and therapist. The very exposure of these strata torepparttar 126210 therapeutic is considered sufficient to induce a dynamic of healing.

The therapist's role is either to interpretrepparttar 126211 material revealed torepparttar 126212 patient (psychoanalysis) by allowingrepparttar 126213 patient to transfer past experience and superimpose it onrepparttar 126214 therapist or to provide a safe emotional and holding environment conducive to changes inrepparttar 126215 patient.

The sad fact is that no known therapy is effective with narcissism itself, though a few therapies are reasonably successful as far as coping with some of its effects goes (behavioural modification).

Dynamic Psychotherapy Or Psychodynamic Therapy, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

This is not psychoanalysis. It is an intensive psychotherapy based on psychoanalytic theory withoutrepparttar 126216 (very important) element of free association. This is not to say that free association is not used in these therapies only that it is not a pillar ofrepparttar 126217 technique. Dynamic therapies are usually applied to patients not considered "suitable" for psychoanalysis (such as those suffering from personality disorders, exceptrepparttar 126218 Avoidant PD).

Typically, different modes of interpretation are employed and other techniques borrowed from other treatments modalities. Butrepparttar 126219 material interpreted is not necessarilyrepparttar 126220 result of free association or dreams andrepparttar 126221 psychotherapist is a lot more active thanrepparttar 126222 psychoanalyst.

Psychodynamic therapies are open-ended. Atrepparttar 126223 commencement ofrepparttar 126224 therapy,repparttar 126225 therapist (analyst) makes an agreement (a "pact" or "alliance") withrepparttar 126226 analysand (patient or client). The pact says thatrepparttar 126227 patient undertakes to explore his problems for as long as may be needed. This is supposed to makerepparttar 126228 therapeutic environment much more relaxed becauserepparttar 126229 patient knows thatrepparttar 126230 analyst is at his/her disposal no matter how many meetings would be required in order to broach painful subject matter.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
 
ImproveHomeLife.com © 2005
Terms of Use