Excerpt About Integration

Basis of the Sense of Self

Thus the sense of self, based on the cohesive self-image, is the result of an integration of the very earliest object relations. This ego organization is modified constantly as more object relations are internalized, but later identifications, after the age of approximately three years, add little in terms of the basic structure. This contradicts the popular belief that people change as they grow in years. The fact is that the passage of time only solidifies the already established structure. This is one reason why change in psychotherapy is not easy. Whether he is in psychotherapy or not, an individual merely lives out an already established structure, expressing an already formed individuality, with its previously established roles. New situations may appear to bring changes, but these changes are rarely fundamental, in general merely bringing out in behavioral manifestation other roles from the unconscious repertoire of the self. These roles or identifications are what the person takes to be the content of who he is. The more harmony these roles have with each other and with the environment, the more normal and healthy the individual is. Failure of the process of integration to create such harmony results in mental disorder.

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