Emotion-focused therapy

Embodied dialogue between parts of the self

Authored by: William J. Whelton , Robert Elliott

Handbook of Dialogical Self Theory and Psychotherapy

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138503670
eBook ISBN: 9781315145693
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the reasons the self draws such extensive research and commentary across disciplines is because of its complexity. In this chapter we address one reason for this tension between how simple and basic the self can appear to be and how difficult and elusive it is. In our experience, most of the time, our sense of self is unitary. We feel that we are one unified person, with a familiar body, coherent and accessible memories and feelings, and a sense of familiar self-labels and identity rooted in these memories, with familiar habits, likes and aversions, and with core stories we tell ourselves to make the passage of time seem coherent and meaningful. And it is true that in some basic ways a healthy self is experienced as unitary. After all, we have but one body, gradually aging over time and perhaps fraying a bit at the edges, but still of a piece and ours.

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