Learning outcomes:

By the end of this module you should be able to identify and explain key concepts and theories of self-psychology, including those relating to:


  • self-concept


  • self-image


  • self-esteem


  • self-recognition


  • personal identity.


You will also improve your self-reflection skills in relation to the above concepts.


NB: There is a modern psychoanalytic theory conceived by Heinz Kohut in the latter half of the 20th century called 'self psychology'. This module does not refer to this theory but rather to the ideas discussed above.


Module introduction

Self-psychology is a fast-evolving field of interest with profound relevance to modern day psychiatric practice.


Difficulties in the areas of self-concept, self-image, self-esteem, self-recognition and personal identity present themselves across a wide range of clinical conditions. We are uniquely placed as psychiatrists to help patients explore and resolve these complex and distressing issues, which may strike right through to the core of the self. We are also in the fortunate position of being able to investigate our own 'selves' as therapeutic tools and agents of change within our work.


Our role involves exploring and supporting the individual's life, incorporating all areas of the self – from the disturbed self-image of body dysmorphia through to the polarised self-worth of bipolar affective disorder and the changing roles that come with dementia.


Throughout this module you will find concise and thought-provoking content spanning the wide topic of self-psychology, interspersed with invitations to explore your own ideas around 'self' and to test your new-found knowledge with practice examination questions.


Learning notes

We recommend that you make some notes as you work through this module.


The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed throughout the module (allowing you to make notes on each page), and these notes will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for future reference. However, you will not be able to print these notes as one single document.


If you would prefer to make your notes in a separate document you may wish to download the 'learning notes' below. This downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a personalised record of your learning, which you can then save and/or print for future reference.


Download the learning notes document for this module


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