Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: Downloads should look similar to the originals…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Downloadable content in PDF and ePUB was designed to be read in a similar format to the original articles.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Gullestad, S.E. (1995). The Personal Myth As A Clinical Concept. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:1155-1166.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:1155-1166

The Personal Myth As A Clinical Concept

Siri Erika Gullestad

The author argues that the concept of personal myth is taken to refer to a universal mythification process, and that such a broad definition is too imprecise for clinical purposes. Previous contributions to psychoanalytic understanding of myths are reviewed. The author concurs with Green's (1991) conception of the personal myth as a heroisation of the self, providing liberation from the mother. By means of a clinical vignette, it is argued that the myth may have additional functions. The myth is a multiply-determined psychological product, offering ‘solutions’ to insoluble human dilemmas, such as that of separation. Self-images embedded in myths may be organised as stable structures reflected in attitudes and personal styles. The author argues for the clinical usefulness of the concept of personal myth. The myth may act as a point of reference in the analytic process, and may serve as a reminder for the analyst to focus subtly embedded narcissistic aspects of character that may otherwise remain as an unanalysed resistance. It also has the property of evoking self states rooted in infantile modes of experience. It is argued that unveiling the myth is not contrary to safeguarding its creative side, but that the defensive, wish-fulfilling and illusory aspects of the myth should be uncovered.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.