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The concept of "Disowned Selves" has somewhat different meanings depending upon the theoretical orientation.

In Voice Dialogue, Hal Stone and Sidra Stone define disowned selves as patterns of energy (i.e., sub-personality) that are punished each time they arise into consciousness will. Over time, these energies are repressed and become part of the shadow. They distinguish disowned selves from Primary Selves. Each individual has many of each of these sub-personalities.

On their web site [1], the Stones writes about a patient named Warren, "...whose mother was psychotic, was so afraid of becoming psychotic that he identified with a Rational Mind and Control as primary selves and disowned all emotions because emotions seemed dangerous and he feared that they might lead to psychosis. Because his mother's erratic behavior caused him shame, he also developed a strong "What will people think?" primary self and disowned his own spontaneity."

Another definition for disowned self comes from Nathaniel Branden. In 1971 he wrote a book titled 'The Disowned Self' He describes a more fundamental state where a person has repressed and disowned such a significant portion of their feelings, desires, hurts, fears, frustrations, and longings that they are alienated from their self. The individual is left with feelings of emptiness, hollowness and a driving fear of triggering that repressed content. The aspect of the person's self that has been abandoned is "...his inner experience of himself." The motive is avoidance - avoidance of shame, guilt or fear. This person is "...disconnected from his own emotional experience, of being unable to feel what things mean to him."

In Dr. Branden's view, it is absence of integration of important cognitive and emotional content that creates and explains this disowned self - this alienated self. A key therapeutic tool, Sentence Stems, was his primary too in treating the disowned self (extensive example are provided in that same book).

See alsoEdit

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