Peter Jay Stein, MD, MA
THE SELF SYSTEM
This diagram (created by this writer, adapted from Lichtenberg, et al, 2011), represents an individual's self sub-system (which does not exist in isolation). The 7 motivational systems are imbued with affect, one of the 5 component, functional sub-systems, flowing outward from the center (in the authors' words, like the vital "sap" of a tree). Affect unfolds and is embodied within the individual's intentions and goals. The central, non-conscious implicit procedural domain, that houses our organizing patterns, procedural memories, and non-conscious implicit Self (Schore, 2012), communicates through metaphor, with the more peripheral and conscious, verbal explicit declarative dimension. Emotional growth, expansion, insight, and complexity involve the interweaving of both the implicit and explicit dimensions of the self-system, within a dyadic, intersubjective matrix, which is further embedded within an all-encompassing physio-psycho-socio-cultural context, of the "...past, present, and imagined future..." (Coburn, 2007)
DEVELOPMENTAL LINES - EGO FUNCTIONS - SELF CAPACITIES
(mastery of the following features of the Self are required for healthy development and mastery of life's demands)
1) identity formation: self-constancy - an integrated, cohesive, autonomous sense of self, with self awareness and continuity through time, of attitudes, feelings and memories, including the development of a well-balanced, moral self, conscience, or superego, that can distinguish right from wrong, fairness from injustice, knowing one's own rights, and respecting the rights of others. The Self exhibits an enduring and consistent pattern of memory organization and affect.
2) object constancy: recognition of sameness and continuity of the Other through time, as a whole, integrated, separate person, a separate subjectivity.
3) self esteem - object esteem: By what standards does one measure oneself and others? What qualities of Self create value and worthiness?
4) reality testing, or sense of reality:
a) the ability to distinguish outside oneself (external reality) from inside oneself (internal fantasy);
b) to distinguish boundaries between self and other;
c)the degree of accuracy or alignment that one perceives of his/her relationship to the internal and external world, reflected subsequently in one's emotional reactions and behavior, i.e., one's adaptation to realistic demands.
5) affect (emotional) regulation:
a) the development of a full range of affect;
b) management of anxieties, moods, shame, guilt, inhibitions, and internal emotional conflict;
c) regulating, modulating, controlling impulses and instincts, including anger and aggressivity, to delay or postpone action via trial action, i.e., reflective awareness and thought, whereby one represents one's anticipated behavior in fantasy, and recognizes possible, alternative outcomes.
6) cognition/intellectual functioning/memory:
a) capacities to read, calculate, learn, and make inferences;
b) secondary process thinking, i.e., understanding metaphor and symbolization:
"in psychoanalytic theory, the more sophisticated thought processes, based on
logic, obeying the rules of causality, and consistent with external reality. Such
processes are characteristic of mature conscious thought"
7) language and speech acquisition and verbal skills:
semantic, symbolic communication. understanding human, verbal, interactive contexts, utilizing receptive and expressive functions, in order to receive and convey appropriate meanings towards objects and circumstances.
8) social/interpersonal skills, and social judgement:
a) to behave appropriately in different social contexts, and to anticipate the consequences of one's actions on oneself and others;
b) to understand interpersonal boundaries and their violations;
c) to seek connectedness to others, and the capacity to set realistic goals with others;
d) to exhibit empathy, mindfulness, and awareness of the feelings and intentions of others;
e) to express altruism, humor, compassion towards others, love, and a sustained commitment towards others.
9) physiological/somatic/perceptual integrity of the body's integrated organ systems
10) sexuality - capacities for physical intimacy.