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The self

  • David Fontana
Chapter
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Part of the Psychology for Professional Groups book series (PPG)

Abstract

One of the most interesting exercises we can attempt with anyone is to ask them to write an essay entitled ‘Myself’. Interesting not only from our point of view, since it is a good way of learning about people, but interesting from the other person’s point of view as well. Faced with the task of writing about ‘myself’, most individuals find themselves rather daunted. It is not just that they feel shy at the thought of writing about who they are, it is that they genuinely do not know what to say. We each of us experience ourselves at every moment of our waking lives, yet when it comes to putting ourselves into words, we uncover all kinds of problems.

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References

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Additional reading

  1. Bruno, FJ. (1983) Adjustment and Personal Growth: Seven Pathways 2nd edn. New York: Wiley. A comprehmsWe attempt to define psychological health and the major pathways towards its achievement.Google Scholar
  2. Bums, R. (1982) Self Concept Development and Education. London: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Still the fullest available survey of all aspects of the psychological approach to the self within the educational context.Google Scholar
  3. Coopersmith, S. (1975) Self-concept, race and education. In G. Verma and C. Bagley (Eds) Race and Education Across Cultures. London: Heinemann. A suroey by Coopersmith that also looks at ethnic differences in self-esteem.Google Scholar
  4. Fransella, F. and Bannister, D. (1977) A Manual for Repertory Grid Technique. London: Academic Press. The classic text for anyone wishing to undertake extenswe use of repertory grids. Explains all aspects of the application and assessment of grids.Google Scholar
  5. Gergen, KJ. and Davis, K.E. (1985) (Eds) The Social Construction of the Person. New York: Springer-Verlag. Good on the social issues that go into the construction of the self.Google Scholar
  6. Harré, R. (1983) Personal Being. Oxford: Blackwell. A philosophical/psychological examination of being and the self. Scholarly and stimulating.Google Scholar
  7. Jersild, A.T., Brook, J.S. and Brook, D.W. (1978) The Psychology of Adolescence 3rd edn. London: Collier Macmillan. A comprehensive book on all aspects of adolescence and of the challenges it poses to the self and the sense of identity.Google Scholar
  8. Kasper, F.H. and Goldstein, A.P. (1986) (Eds) Helping People Change: A textbook of metlwds 3rd edn. New York: Pergamon. An alternative to Bruno’s book. Even wider in scope but not so readable or humanistic.Google Scholar
  9. Kegan, R. (1982) The Evolving Self: Problems and process of human development. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. A cognitive approach to the self, strongly irgluenced by Piagetian developmental theorin. Recommended for the way in which it integrates thought and emotion in the total picture of the self.Google Scholar
  10. Kelly, G.A. (1963) A Theory of Personality. New York: Norton. Contains the first three chapters of Volume I of the classic The Psychology of Personal Constructs. An excellent introduction to Kellly’s ideas.Google Scholar
  11. Kotarba, J.S. and Fontana, A. (1984) The Existmtial Self in Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The joint author isn’t a relatWe, so I can safely recommend this as a stimulating examination of psychological and sociological aspects of the self.Google Scholar
  12. Markus, H. and Nurius, P. (1986) Possible selves. American Psychologist, 41, 954–69. The self as a set of constructions.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Wells, B.W.P. (1983) Body and Personality. London: Longman. Erpeciallly good on the links between self-esteem and body image, but a valuable introduction to the whole area of the body—personality link.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Fontana 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Fontana
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Wales College of CardiffUK
  2. 2.University of MinhoPortugal

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