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Bach, S. (2019). States of Self-Surrender. Psychoanal. Psychol., 36(2):159-165.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 36(2):159-165

On Clinical Theory

States of Self-Surrender

Sheldon Bach, Ph.D.

This article describes a continuum of states of consciousness involving self-surrender or the surrender of agency. Some endogenous and some environmental factors that encourage such surrender are considered in the article, including the possible effects of the social and political environment. Using these states as an example, I suggest that in good health there is a relatively seamless pattern of alternation between states that are appropriate to the situation at hand, but that trauma disturbs this freedom of oscillation, freezing it or introducing inappropriate states. In a larger context, it appears that we are one of the few animals capable of both experiencing our life as actors within it and also of observing it as if we were spectators. I propose that in order to maintain a balanced sense of our own existence, self-experience must alternate and interpenetrate with self-observation in a continuous process of oscillation free of traumatic constraints.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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