The Soul or Substantive Self as Experiencer, Actualizer, and Representative in Psychoanalytic Theory

Volume
Volume 26
Issue
Spring 1998
Title
The Soul or Substantive Self as Experiencer, Actualizer, and Representative in Psychoanalytic Theory
Abstract

Numerous prominent psychoanalytic theories of the self are reviewed and several problems with these conceptualizations are discussed. The essential problem highlighted is that various psychoanalytic theorists have identified self with three different conceptual categories: (a) self-representations, (b) subjective experiences, and (c) capacities. These categories have not yet been integrated in any meaningful way leaving psychoanalytic theorists devoid of a coherent theory of the self and any notion of agency. In light of these problems, an attempt is made to synthesize a broad range of psychoanalytic theories of the self. It is proposed that the term self should be reserved for the embodied nonphysical aspect of a person to prevent terminological confusion with the idea of self as an intrapsychic agency. Furthermore, it is proposed that the notion of the self as a substance accounts for all three conceptual categories in that the three things of which a substance is a unity (parts, properties, and capacities) correspond precisely with the three conceptual categories with which psychoanalytic theorists have tended to identify self. The substantive self is viewed as the thing that possesses and unites its subjective experiences, self-representations, and capacities. In other words, the self is the experiencer, actualizer, and representative. The view of self as substance has implications for therapy in that it places a focus on continuity and agency.

Author
Dr. T.W. Hall
Pages
55 - 65
Price
Add to Cart $5.00