Empirically based Suggested Insights into the Concept of False-Self Defense: Contributions From a Study on Normalization of Children With Disabilities

Adva Eichengreen*, Dan Hoofien, Eytan Bachar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The concept of the false self has been used widely in psychoanalytic theory and practice but seldom in empirical research. In this empirically based study, elevated features of false-self defense were hypothetically associated with risk factors attendant on processes of rehabilitation and integration of children with disabilities, processes that encourage adaptation of the child to the able-bodied environment. Self-report questionnaires and in-depth interviews were conducted with 88 deaf and hard-of-hearing students and a comparison group of 88 hearing counterparts. Results demonstrate that despite the important contribution of rehabilitation and integration to the well-being of these children, these efforts may put the child at risk of increased use of the false-self defense. The empirical findings suggest two general theoretical conclusions: (1) The Winnicottian concept of the environment, usually confined to the parent-child relationship, can be understood more broadly as including cultural, social, and rehabilitational variables that both influence the parent-child relationship and operate independently of it. (2) The monolithic conceptualization of the false self may be more accurately unpacked to reveal two distinct subtypes: the compliant and the split false self.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)107-132
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © 2016 by the American Psychoanalytic Association.

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