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Auerbach, C. (1991). Development of the True Self: A Semiotic Analysis. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 14(1):109-142.

(1991). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 14(1):109-142

Development of the True Self: A Semiotic Analysis

Carl Auerbach, Ph.D.

This paper provides a semiotic explication of Winnicott's con cept of a true self, as follows. The true self is a symbolic entity which exists in symbolic dialogue. There are three stages in the development of symbolic dialogue: intercorporeal (having to do with shared bodily meaning), intersubjective (having to do with shared conventional meaning), and intrasubjective (having to do with meaning for oneself). The true self begins as spontaneous bodily gesture in intercorporeal dialogue with a responsive mother, and then develops in intersubjective dialogue and, ultimately, in intrasubjective dialogue. These stages of development coexist in adult functioning, and are reflected in the phenomenology of the true self.

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