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Hayman, A. (1965). Verbalization and Identity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:455-466.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:455-466

Verbalization and Identity

Anne Hayman


Interest in the problem of identity is a recent development in psycho-analytic thinking, with the concept of 'the self' as subject being differentiated from the concept of ego as the organizing functional structure of the personality. There has been much discussion about both the nature and the development of this psychic instance, with varying emphases on the primal significance of the development of the recognition and distinction between self and not-self, the later enlargement of this conception into the distinction between self and object representation, further distinctions between identity, sense or feeling of identity or self, self-cognizance, the relations between self-representation and ideal self, the defensive creation of a 'false-self', and many other contributions.

There are differing views both as to the timing of the development of the sense of personal identity, and as to whether it represents a fourth structural entity within the personality on a par with id, ego, and superego. For example, Eissler (1958b) and Erikson (1959) feel that it is a structure mainly synthesized towards the end of adolescence as the result of re-integration of childhood identifications arising from re-experienced oedipal and pre-oedipal conflicts in the setting of mature genitality, changed superego rulings, increased ego talents, and within the setting of new social expectations and opportunities. Other writers, while acknowledging the re-integration and new synthesis of identifications, and emergence of life role, at this stage remain more convinced of the classical view that psychic structuralization is completed with the passing of the Oedipus complex.

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