chapter  Six
Promoting benign identity contents
ByMark Bracher
Pages 17

Identity needs are the common antecedents of our most serious social problems. These problems are symptoms of identity needs. Preventing the social symptoms thus requires interventions that affect identity in a positive way. There are five basic types of such interventions: reducing traumatogenic social and cultural structures, institutions, practices, and conditions in order to prevent identity damage and impeded development; promoting the development and enactment of multiple, diverse, prosocial identity contents; and reducing harmful social and cultural identity defences. They also include: promoting integration of rejected elements of self, which reduces the need for defences and strengthens identity; and fostering the development of more complex and inclusive identity structures, which expands and strengthens identity, enables integration of diverse identity contents, and reduces the need for malignant defences. In addition to providing greater opportunity for recognition and enactment of benign identity contents people already possess, social problems can also be reduced by changes in identity contents.