The Self in Social Psychology and Implications for Counseling Practice

3160 Words13 Pages
Various concepts of the self are present in many social psychological topics. Research studies related to self-identity, self-concept, self-esteem and other core social constructs regarding self are abundant, and there is plenty of evidence suggesting the self can be described and compared to a plethora of social motives that are researched and reviewed throughout social psychology. However, for counseling psychologists, how do we make sense and make use of the phenomena learned through social psychological research to help our work in the practice of counseling? It is important to take what the field of psychology has learned from science and apply it to psychological practice in order to make full use of the quality of information that has been gathered over the years. The following is a discussion of the self in social psychology, and the implications of this core psychological construct on the practice of counseling. The wealth of knowledge written on the topic of self in social psychology presents important and useful constructs that help us to understand ourselves in relation to interactions with others. For example, there are topics written on escaping the self, self-esteem and failure, self as a stressor, and the loss of self in relation to spiritual bliss or ecstasy (Baumeister, 1991). Other “self” topics in social psychology include understanding the self in terms of cognitive, affective, and behavioral constructs (Fiske, 2004). Further, Fiske (2004) identifies several conceptual definitions of self, such as inner self and social self, and defines the core social motives of self as understanding, enhancing, and belonging. However, many researchers have investigated more specific understandings of the self in relat... ... middle of paper ... ... Stapleton, J. A., Taylor, S., & Asmundson, G. G. (2006). Effects of three PTSD treatments on anger and guilt: Exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and relaxation training. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19, 19–28. Tangney, J. P., Burggraf, S. A., & Wagner, P. E. (1995). Shame-proneness, guilt-proneness, and psychological symptoms. In J. P. Tangney, & K. W. Fischer (Eds.), Self-conscious emotions: The psychology of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and pride (pp. 343–367). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press. Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193-210. Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1994). Positive illusions and well-being revisited: Separating fact from fiction. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 21-27.
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