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The Private Self

The Private Self

Arnold Modell

ISBN 9780674707535

Publication date: 02/01/1996

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.


  • A richly challenging book...A prodigious review and criticism of much of psychoanalytic theory in addition to an exposition of new ideas in the psychology of the self. I enthusiastically recommend it to all those who are seriously interested in psychoanalytic theory.

    —William R. Flynn, M.D., American Journal of Psychiatry


  • Arnold H. Modell is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at Beth Israel Hospital.

Book Details

  • 250 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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