Theories of Counseling-Self Psychology

Theories of Counseling-Self Psychology

"Self-psychology is a theory developed by an American psychiatrist, Dr Heinz Kohut, in the 1970s and 80s. It attempts to explain the development of mental health problems by identifying difficulties experienced during childhood when children are thought to be particularly sensitive to interactions with others, especially their parents.

The theory is that children require certain confirming or approving responses from their parents (which are usually automatic) in order to develop emotionally and psychologically. Healthy development allows a person to maintain good self-esteem and control anxiety by using learned techniques."

This sounds a great deal like what we call attachment theory today.

Allan Schore's work in this regard is tremendously illuminating.

Schore talks about the attachment process as a social interaction, like a Self-Psychologist's empathic response.

Schore speaks to the need for mom in the first two years to attune herself with the child's emotional signals, both the high and low arousal varieties, and parents and child may occasionally misinterpret the signals, and as mom and child attune, the child's brain can actually grow in a healthy direction.

Again according to Schore, Dads empathic attunements come online after the second year which begins the process of teaching about aggression, how to get aroused and then relax without harming anyone,  in the gear shifting rough housing on the living room floor.

Brain development is dependent on the success of the attachment process, and missed or incomplete stages can lead to emotional regulation issues later on.

Schore goes on to note that attachment behaviors can happen as often as 20 times per minute.

In other words, they are brief and frequent, and the child may indicate that they are "full" by shifting attention away, or looking away.

In an adult,..."These techniques act automatically to keep a person feeling calm and 'in control' emotionally. If children are raised in an emotional environment in which they do not receive these parental responses, or the responses are inadequate, then they may go through life continually looking for them. This may leave them overly dependent on others for the provision of those emotional responses they need in order to maintain a sense of emotional well-being because they lack the ability to do it for themselves."

"Self-psychology does not refer to a person analyzing him or herself!" But it does refer to an individual seeking a sense of self internally.

How Does Counseling Self Psychology Work?

How does self-psychology treatment work?

"Treatment within a self-psychology framework involves the therapist attempting to understand the possible problems which a person may have had, related to his/her emotional development in childhood that may have led to the development of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or relationship problems."

(Sound like John Bradshaw's 'Inner Child' work?)

"Therapy using self-psychology requires the therapist to interact emotionally with a patient, almost in the manner of a parent with a child. This is not to say that the therapist treats the patient like a child. Rather, the therapist is aware of, and particularly sensitive to, the emotional needs of the patient."

"To achieve this requires the therapist to recognise a patient's need for particular types of emotional responses, such as reflecting pride in something done well, that were lacking in the patient's early emotional life. The therapist then provides that emotional response in an appropriate way."

"The aim of such therapy is to create an emotional environment in which it is possible for the patient to develop 'intrapsychic' structures (i.e. ones that are inside his/her internal emotional world) to control self-esteem and provide emotional calm."

Want to increase your IQ? Does that claim seem outrageous? Check out the research

Return to Home Page.

Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro - Software that makes you smarter

Would You Share Something That You Are Grateful For?

When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.

Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.

Learn from our
TOP 500

[?]You Can Subscribe Here
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!

Or get our
Newsletter below.

Awaken the higher mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities with Heartmath.


See products we recommend in our Amazon Store

Recent Articles

  1. Good News From the Doc on Keto Diet and Senior Wellness

    Dec 07, 17 07:48 PM

    Went to see my functional doctor Tuesday, to check the numbers after a blood draw. She is working on my thyroid and testosterone and vitamin b, among other things like CoQ and omega-3 levels. Basicall…

    Read More

  2. Keto for Cytokines and Senior Wellness

    Dec 02, 17 01:23 PM

    For those days when I am struggling a bit with finding a new recipe or cooking keto for my senior wellness, I think of keto benefits other than weight loss; "Inflammation: For many people, aging inclu…

    Read More

  3. Partial Victory on Senior Wellness and Keto Diet

    Nov 28, 17 09:05 AM

    I am laying claim to a partial Thanksgiving Week victory for the Senior Wellness and Keto Diet and weight loss and reduced grocery spending battle. I actually lost weight last week, which is good on t…

    Read More