chapter  Chapter 3
14 Pages

The Multiple Self-States Model

WithSusan C. Parente

These are exciting decades in the area of psychological research, scholarship, and practice, with a wide array of theoretical and clinical advances permeating the field. Florence Goodenough and her successors sought to understand various component features of children’s individual identities by exploring their projected sense of self in their human figure drawings (HFDs) and attempting to translate these projections systematically into meaningful psychological data. However, current developments in neuroscience, edifying theories of attachment and affect regulation, and contemporary understandings of the dissociative process may now have us reflect somewhat differently on notions of identity and self. Accordingly, the self might now be understood as comprised of multiple and variable psychophysiological states, each encompassing diverse affects, cognitions, and sensory and motor processes, experienced on a continuum of integrated self through varying degrees of dissociation. Healthy, cohesive identity implies a fluid, integrated system of self-states functioning, in contrast to problematic conditions in which a relative lack of consciousness about discrete states of being prevails. A discussion of dissociation, trauma, and elaboration of the phenomenon of multiple self-states is advanced in this chapter.