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(p. 159) Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self 

(p. 159) Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self
(p. 159) Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 28 February 2021

In this paper on the subject of the True and False Self, Winnicott locates the area of this conceptualization as arising out of recognition of the difference of Ego versus Id in both infant development and analytic work with patients. Winnicott sees the False Self arising in the first object-relationships, where its positive function is to hide the True Self. Only the True Self can be spontaneous, creative and feel real. Where there is a pronounced split between the True and False Self, there is a poor capacity for symbol use and a poor quality of life. In analysis, the patient’s False Self can collaborate indefinitely with the analyst in the analysis of defences, but the real issues remain untouched. Suicide, which may occur in this context, is the destruction of the total self in avoidance, in fantasy, of the feared annihilation of the True Self.

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