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Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Shame, the Ideal Self, and Narcissism. Andrew P. Morrison. Pp. 295-318.. Psychoanal Q., 55:548.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Shame, the Ideal Self, and Narcissism. Andrew P. Morrison. Pp. 295-318.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:548

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Shame, the Ideal Self, and Narcissism. Andrew P. Morrison. Pp. 295-318.

Ronald F. Krasner

Morrison begins with a discussion of the psychology of shame as it has been previously established in the psychoanalytic literature. Using the ideas of Freud, Piers, Lund, and Lewis, he presents distinctions between shame and guilt. He summarizes: "Shame, then, reflects feelings about a defect of the self, a lowering of self-esteem, falling short of the values of the ego-ideal, a flaw in one's identity representation. The external danger from the experience of shame is abandonment or rejection, in contrast with punishment and castration in relationship to guilt." To further his analysis, Morrison asserts that the ideal self, the self-as-I-want-to-be, is a concept central to the genesis of shame. If the ideal self is not achieved, a subjective sense of self-defect and shortcoming is felt, and this in turn is integral to the experience of shame. Kohut's major contributions to the diagnosis, conceptualization, and treatment of the pathology of the self are presented. Morrison states: "Shame then can be understood as one reaction to failure in the self's quest to gain responsiveness/affirmation by the selfobject or to generate ideals." In considering Kohut's idea that guilt is the major affect of "Guilty Man," Morrison posits that shame is the corresponding affect for "Tragic Man." In a final brief section on treatment, Morrison concludes that if shame is the affective response to falling short of goals and to the depletion of ideals, it is best treated "through the vicarious introspection of empathy, of his own failures … of his own defects… The analyst must be willing to face and acknowledge his own shame and the pain which accompanies it."


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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 55:548

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.