Excerpt About Weakness

Modification of the Self-Image Can Change a Person's Experience and Action in the World

Whereas object relations theory concerns itself with the development of the psychic apparatus or structure, our inquiry here is into the actual material of the psychic structure, into the ontological aspect of it. what is the mind, what is it made of, and how does self-image determine our perception of it? In other words, what is the mind besides its content? Where does this content exist? One way of approaching the question is to investigate what happens when the self-image changes, i.e., when some of its boundaries are removed or modified. We already know how modification of the self-image can change a person’s experience and action in the world. This is, in fact, one way of seeing the action of any kind of psychotherapy. As some of the boundaries imposed on the individual by his self-image are dissolved, he gains greater freedom of perception and action. For instance, as the “weak” person understands his “weakness,” as he sees its genesis and understands its psychodynamics, this boundary of “weakness” is challenged and gradually dissolves. As the person stops thinking of himself as “weak,” his actions in the world change. In fact, he starts acting in ways that he had never thought he could, taking actions that he had thought only “strong” people could take, or even doing things that he had never thought anyone could do. Anyone who has participated in any kind of therapy, or is himself a therapist, or has experienced or seen a change of self-image, knows this very well.

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