In The Private Self, Arnold Modell contributes an interdisciplinary perspective in formulating a theory of the private self. A leading thinker in American psychoanalysis, Modell here studies selfhood by examining variations on the theme of the self in Freud and in the work of object relations theorists, self psychologists, and neuroscientists. Modell contends that the self is fundamentally paradoxical, in that it is at once dependent upon social affirmation and autonomous in generating itself from within. We create ourselves, he suggests, by selecting values that are endowed with private meanings.
By thinking of the unconscious as a neurophysiological process, and the self as the subject and object of its own experience, Modell is able to explain how identity can persist in the flux of consciousness. He thus offers an exciting and original perspective for our understanding of the mind and the brain.