Archive

You are currently browsing the archives for the Shared blog category.

???

24

2024

Conversation 45: Why do characters in general and internalized characters in particular, who build the social self according to our model, have such an important role in our mental life?

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings,

In this comprehensive conversation we will discuss the question of why characters in general and internalized characters in particular are such an important element in the construction of the social self.

Let us first define the self,

The self is the agent or subjective inner center that we identify as ourselves, which represents the "Me" of each of us, and we usually have a sense of its continuity throughout our lives, although some argue that the experience of the continuity of the self differs between different individuals. Although on the one hand everyone has an experience of self, on the other hand quite a few authors claim that the experience of self is a kind of illusion and that many brain processes are involved in our mental life and the self and its functions.

Aaron Sloman in 2020

Aharon Saloman [1936- ]

Aaron Saloman suggested that words like self, himself, etc. do not refer to a special kind of entity, but provide powerful syntactic mechanisms for constructing utterances that repeatedly refer to the same thing without tiresome and vague repetition of other referring names or phrases. Others claim that the experience of the self is so intimate and immediately familiar to each of us that the existence of the self cannot be doubted. Kant spoke of the self as a kind of agent that organizes the life of the soul. Philosopher Daniel Dennett defined the self as the "narrative center of gravity". This definition embodies within it the perception of the self both as the center of the experience, and as one that is in a broader and more continuous narrative.

Our Brains, Our Selves: Daniel Dennett | Tufts Now

Daniel Dennett [ 1942- ]

The spiritual goal of many approaches and traditions from the East involves the dissolution of the ego, in contrast to the essential self, which in their perception is permanent and conscious, does not require any additional evidence, and it is this that illuminates the activities of recognition [in the sense of CONCIOUSNESS, and enables one to reach self-recognition [in the sense of understanding, perception, etc.] through appropriate practice of man's true nature, an experience or phenomenon known variously as enlightenment, nirvana, presence, and the "here and now" experience.

"Self" also has a significant social aspect since we humans live within a social matrix. Martin Buber, the philosopher claimed that there is no self without you, meaning the other, and the relationship with him defines the self. The question then arises, what is that social self? We believe that the "social self" is a collection of internalized characters with their perceptions, feelings, attitudes and characteristics, where we will elaborate more on this topic later.

Let's now define what internalized characters are:

key figures [usually human], internalized in a person's life, usually refer to the significant people who have played major roles in shaping the individual's beliefs, values, and self-concept. These figures may include family members, friends, mentors, teachers, or any other influential person who has left a lasting impression on the person's psyche. Sometimes these will also include historical, literary, and other figures that left a noticeable mark on the person and were internalized by him.

The term "internalized" implies that the influence of these key figures has been absorbed and integrated into the individual's thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. This internalization occurs through the process of observing, interacting with, and learning from these important people. As a result, the individual may adopt certain values, perspectives, and ways of approaching life that reflect those of the influential figures.

These internalized figures can serve as guiding forces in decision-making, moral thinking and emotional regulation. Positive influences can contribute to a person's well-being, security and resilience, while negative influences can lead to internal conflicts or challenges in personal development.

Recognizing and understanding the influence of internalized human key figures is essential to self-awareness and personal growth. It allows people to evaluate the values they hold, question assumptions and make deliberate decisions about the kind of person they want to be. In addition, the awareness of these internalized influences can contribute to building healthier relationships and fostering positive relationships with others.

Read more »

???

4

2024

Conversation 44: Adjusting the character of the therapist, which is internalized by the patient, to achieve regulation and positive change within the patient's "board of internalized characters"

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Hello to our readers,

The current article is aimed more at mental health professionals but may also be of interest to those who are not therapists and are interested in the issues of mental health care. As we mentioned in previous conversations, we also hold that within us, in our minds, the social "self" is represented by a kind of "jury" or "board" of internalized characters [which for short we will call a board of directors].

The "secondary self" contained in the "social self" includes: 1] the variety of representations of the "self" that originate from attitudes and feelings towards the self and its representations in different periods of life 2] representations of internalized figures that often originate from significant figures that the person is exposed to during his life, but as mentioned may also be imaginary characters represented in books, movies, etc. that have greatly influenced the person. 3] internalized representations of "subculture" [subculture refers to social influences in the environment in which the person lives and are not necessarily related to a particular person]. We call the social self metaphorically "the directorate of the characters" or more precisely the "directorate of the internalized characters". We note that, as we mentioned before, this board usually has a hierarchy in which there are more influential and dominant characters that we metaphorically called "the dictator self or selves" and these set the tone and even censor which content, attitudes and behaviors cannot be included in the board of characters. We note that the person as a whole is not aware of the influence of the character board and recognizes the influence as arising from himself and his will and attitudes. We will also note that, as a general rule, the board is very dynamic and there are constant struggles and power relations between the internalized characters that make it up over the positions that will be expressed when the internal dictator or dictators dictate the tone.

This is how it is possible to internalize various external figures that influence the person, but we emphasize that usually the most important internal internalization is that of what we will call the internal "dictator self". Here it is about internalizing a character that has a great influence and shapes the person for good and/or bad, that has a great influence on the board of internal characters that build the social "self". To this internal dictator we assume a decisive role and a profound influence on the internalization of external figures [or in professional parlance external objects]. The dictator's positions (attitudes) play a central role in making decisions about character internalizations. He decides whether the internalization should be rejected or, if accepted, in what form it will be internalized.

In other words, in a certain sense, we assume that this influential figure is also a kind of internal censor. It should be emphasized that we are not talking or conjecturing concretely about the presence of figures in the inner world as a sort of “little people”, kind of mental homunculus, but in their representations whose nature and manner of representation in the brain still requires research. We will also note that although we call this character "dictator", except for a certain type, his characteristics are not the same as that of a dictatorial ruler of a certain country, but rather that this character is dominant and influential among the "Directorate of Characters".

Illustration: The board of internalized characters and the internalized dictator self [courtesy of Sarit Shimshoni]

Illustration: The board of internalized characters and the internalized dictator self [Courtesy of Sarit Shimshoni].

We claim that the therapist has to adapt the character that he will represent and that will be reflected in the therapy, so that it will be internalized by the patient and will have a positive effect on his board of characters and especially on patient’s dictator self. This featured character should be accepted by the censor of the internal dictator and gradually acquire an increasing place in the hierarchy of characters on the board. In order for this to happen, the therapist has to treat the dictatorial figure (figures) with respect, and learn to contain them. We note that this step is extremely important for the success of the treatment.

On the other hand, the therapist has to find ways that will be accepted by the dictatorial figure and soften its effects [in a meaning that it will undergo a certain change] while presenting and demonstrating a figure that will be accepted by the board of directors and during the treatment will even rise in the hierarchy of figures and its influence will increase, and it is possible that at a certain stage it will even gradually become the most influential figure. We emphasize that the character the therapist presents to the patient is usually not his own character he represents in his daily life, but as mentioned one that fits the structure of the patient's board of directors. Although it could be mentioned that this requires the therapist to lose his authenticity, we’d like to note that training therapists for desired behaviors has long been practiced in a variety of therapeutic methods.

For example, this is how psychoanalytic therapists learn to be attentive, to demonstrate neutrality towards their patients, while cognitive therapists learn to adopt Socratic approaches and ask questions that lead their patients to see and notice alternatives to their usual thinking. Supportive therapists, on the other hand, learn to encourage, demonstrate the positive aspects and give advice to their patients, while Rogerian therapists learn to reflect the words and behavior characteristics to their patients. The difference between our approach and these approaches is that we require the therapist not to adopt one particular approach which he will project and behave towards his patients, but rather be versatile and change the characteristics of his behavior and treatment of his patients according to the needs of the inner dictator and their board of characters.

Read more »

???

19

2024

Conversation 43: What is common between communication with the other and the board of internalized figures?

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings,

Let us first mention again that in the model we propose for the "self", one must first differentiate between the primary self, which is actually the basic biological nucleus consisting of several innate structures and which is subject to development during life. and the "social self" [consisting of "secondary selves"], which is a structure that develops during a person's exposure to social influence, and consists of internalizations of figures significant to a person, originating either from external groups or from imaginary groups (related, for example, in the form of a story, from a myth, from a movie, etc.) that were having a considerable effect on the person). The "secondary selves" included in the "social self" include 1] the variety of representations of the "Me" that originate from attitudes and feelings towards the self and its representations in different periods of life 2] the representations of internalized figures that often originate from significant figures that the person is exposed to during his life but as mentioned may also be imaginary characters represented in books, films, etc. that have had a considerable influence on man. 3] internalized representations of the "subculture" [subculture refers to social influences in the milieu [environment] in which the person lives and are not necessarily related to a specific person].

The board of characters and the internal dictator: Photograph in courtesy of Shimshoni Sarit

The board of characters and the internal dictator: Photograph in courtesy of Shimshoni Sarit

We call the social self metaphorically the "directorate of characters" or more specifically the "directorate of internalized characters." We note that, as we mentioned before, in this board there is usually a hierarchy in which there are more influential and dominant figures that we metaphorically called "the tyrant or internal tyrants" and these set the tone and even censor what content, attitudes and behaviors cannot be contained in the board of figures.

We note that the person as a whole is not aware of the influence of the board of characters and recognizes the influence as coming from himself and his own will and positions. We will also note that, as a rule, the board of directors is very dynamic and there are constant struggles and power relations between the internalized characters that make it up on the positions that will be expressed when the internal dictator or dictators dictate the tone.

We will now ask what happens in communication between two people in general and between spouses in particular?

Read more »

???

9

2024

Conversation 42: Hypotheses about the directorate of internalized characters in animals

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings,

Let us recall first that in the model we propose for the "self", one must first differentiate between the primary self, which is actually the basic biological core consisting of a number of innate structures and which is subject to development during life. and the "social self" [consisting of "secondary selves"], which is a structure that develops during a person's exposure to social influence, and consists of internalizations of figures significant to a person, originating either from external groups or from imaginary groups (related, for example, in the form of a story, from a myth, from a movie, etc.) that were having a considerable effect on the person). The "secondary selves" included in the "social self" include 1] the variety of representations of the "Me" that originate from attitudes and feelings towards the self and its representations in different periods of life 2] the representations of internalized figures that often originate from significant figures that the person is exposed to during his life but as mentioned may also be imaginary characters represented in books, films, etc. that have had a considerable influence on man. 3] internalized representations of the "subculture" [subculture refers to social influences in the milieu [environment] in which the person lives and are not necessarily related to a specific person].

Image

Board of Directors: Photographed in courtesy of Shimshony Sarit

We call the social self metaphorically the "directory of characters" or more specifically the "directory of internalized characters." We note that, as we mentioned before, in this board there is usually a hierarchy in which there are more influential and dominant figures that we metaphorically called "Dictator Self or Selves) or the internalized dictators" and these set the tone and even impose censorship on content, attitudes and behaviors that cannot be contained in the board of figures. We note that the person as a whole is not aware of the influence of the board of characters and recognizes the influence as coming from from himself and his own will and positions.

We will also note that as a rule the board of characters is very dynamic and there are constant struggles and power relations between the introverted characters that make it up over the positions that will be expressed when the internal dictator or dictators dictate the tone. Finally, we assume the existence of another internalized group that we will call the enemy group, the individuals represented in it are seen as enemies and the internal dictator imposes censorship on their inclusion in the board of directors.

The question arises as to whether in certain animals there is a minimal, partial, and perhaps more than that representation of such an internalized board of directors of members of their species and what are its characteristics?

Read more »

???

30

2023

Conversation 41: Remote understanding of a leader's personality and motives, whether according to the literature or according to the "directory of characters"

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings to our dear readers.

Let's start with the question of what is personality?

To that end, we will first quote the article by Blais and his friends from 2021.

Julie Blais, Philip G. Chen, Scott Pruysers. Editorial: Political Psychology: The Role of Personality in Politics. editorial article; Front. Polit. Sci., 21 July 2021.

"Although there is no single definition accepted by all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively fixed traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person's behavior."

Perhaps, the most common way to study personality has been through the trait approach. Traits, or tendencies, refer to the internal characteristics of a person, which are fairly stable over time and between situations, and help explain differences between people. Today there are several different models that help organize different personality traits, with the FIVE FACTORS MODEL: (FFM; McCrae and Costa, 1987) being the most prominent.

The FFM includes traits of extraversion (e.g., sociability, assertiveness, and thrill-seeking), agreeableness (e.g., trust, modesty, warmth), conscientiousness (e.g., competence, self-discipline, and achievement), neuroticism (e.g., anxiety, irritability, and vulnerability), and openness to experience (eg, unconventional ideas, fantasy, and values). A competing model, HEXACO [Honesty, Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness] (Ashton and Lee, 2007), similarly includes traits of extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness; However, HEXACO redefines agreeableness (e.g., forgiveness, gentleness, and patience) and neuroticism (renamed emotional stability) while adding the sixth trait of honesty-humility (e.g., fairness, avoidance of greed, modesty).

In contrast to these general traits, the Dark Trinity model (Paulhus and Williams, 2002) defines the three more traits of psychopathy (e.g., rigidity, impulsivity, antagonism), narcissism (e.g., self-aggrandizement, antagonism), and Machiavellianism (e.g., manipulation, planning, antagonism). While other individual traits (eg, authoritarianism, sadism, etc.) and other models (eg, Light Triad) exist, FFM, HEXACO, and Dark Triad tend to be the most common.

Board of Directors: Photographed by courtesy of Shimshony Sarit

Read more »

???

18

2023

Talk 40: Understanding "voodoo" death and a particular subset of suicide through the activity "Directorate of Internalized Characters"

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings

We will discuss "voodoo death" first. Voodoo death is a term coined by Walter Cannon in 1942, also known as psychogenic death or psychosomatic death. It is a phenomenon of sudden death caused by a strong emotional shock, such as fear of some external force. Voodoo death is particularly noted in indigenous societies, but also in concentration camps or prison camps, and the situation is not specific to a certain culture. [W.B. Cannon, "Voodoo" Death, American Anthropologist, 44, pp. 169–181, 1942]. Leach, in an interview with Medscape Medical News, noted that these people usually go through five distinct stages that include: withdrawal, apathy, abulia [loss of willpower], mental akinesia [motor immobility] and psychogenic death.

Read more »

???

29

2023

Conversation 39: Cognitive dissonance and its perception through the “directorate of internalized figures”

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

The concept of cognitive dissonance was first proposed by the psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956. It is a situation of discrepancy between attitudes or between an attitude and an action derived from conflicting attitude. Cognitive dissonance expresses an inconsistency between any elements of knowledge, attitude, emotion, belief, or value, as well as a goal, plan, or interest. The theory of cognitive dissonance holds that conflicting cognitions serve as a driving force that forces the human mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to change existing beliefs, in order to minimize the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions [see Wikipedia entry on cognitive dissonance]. In other words, the theory is based on the idea that people strive for internal consistency and harmony in their beliefs and attitudes. When there is inconsistency or conflict, they experience discomfort, and this discomfort motivates them to resolve the inconsistency by changing their beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors.

festinger

Leon Festinger [1919-1989]

Although reducing cognitive dissonance may make it easier for a person, some of the ways to reduce cognitive dissonance involve distorting the truth, which can lead to wrong decisions. Festinger suggests that the dissonance can sometimes be resolved by finding and adding a third piece of information relevant to both beliefs. Ways to deal with the dissonance include:

Changing Beliefs: People may change one or more of their beliefs to make them consistent with each other or with their behavior.

Acquisition of new information: People may seek new information that supports their existing beliefs or helps justify their behavior.

Minimization: People may downplay the importance of the conflicting beliefs or behaviors, actually convincing themselves that the inconsistency is insignificant.

Seeking social support: People may seek support from others who share similar beliefs or engage in behaviors consistent with their own, providing a sense of validation.

Behavioral change: Changing a person's behavior to conform to their beliefs or attitudes is another way to reduce cognitive dissonance.

Read more »

???

24

2023

Conversation 38: Understanding psychological conflict and transference through the lens of the "Directorate of Internalized Characters"

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings

First, let's mention again that in the model we propose for the "self", one must first differentiate between the primary self, which is actually the basic biological core consisting of several innate structures and which is subject to development during life. and the "social self" [consisting of "secondary selves"], which is a structure that develops during a person's exposure to social influence, and consists of internalizations of figures significant to a person, originating either from external groups or from imaginary groups (related, for example, to a story, a myth, a movie, etc.) that were having a considerable effect on the person). We will note here that at birth there are innate patterns for most parts of the self such as the "social self" and its parts that form nuclei for a possible future development of these structures.

The "secondary selves" included in the "social self" comprise: 1] the variety of representations of the "Me" that originate from attitudes and feelings towards the self and its representations in different periods of life 2] the representations of internalized figures that often originate from significant figures that the person is exposed to during his life but as mentioned may also be imaginary characters represented in books, films, etc. that have had a considerable influence on man. 3] The person’s representations of the "subculture" [subculture refers to social influences in the milieu [environment] in which the person lives and are not necessarily related to a specific person],

We call the social self metaphorically the "directory of characters" or more specifically the "directory of internalized characters."

We note that, as we mentioned before, in this board there is usually a hierarchy in which there are more influential and dominant figures that we metaphorically called "Dictator Self or Selves" and these set the tone and even censor what content, attitudes and behaviors cannot be contained in the board of figures. We note that the person as a whole is not aware of the influence of the board of characters and recognizes the influence as coming from himself and his own will and positions. We will also note that, as a rule, the board of directors is very dynamic and there are constant struggles and power relations between the internalized characters that make it up over the positions that will be expressed when the internal “dictator or dictators” dictate the tone.

Read more »

???

13

2023

Conversation 37: The post-traumatic syndrome and the "directory of internalized characters"

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings,

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association revised the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]—also called post-traumatic stress disorder—in the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-5]. PTSD is included in a new category in the DSM-5, Trauma and Stress Disorders. All the conditions included in this classification require exposure to a traumatic or stressful event as a diagnostic criterion.

It should be noted that DSM-5 introduced a subtype of preschool PTSD for children aged six years and younger. The criteria below are specific to adults, adolescents and children over the age of six.

Below are the criteria required for a PTSD diagnosis.

Read more »

???

5

2023

Conversation 36: What is the effect of the threats of survival in a war situation on the board of internalized figures?

By Prof. Levine & Dr. Salganik

Greetings

We are currently [October 2023] in the midst of a war. This war poses a considerable survival threat.

Let's examine the question, which is what does an existential threat and uncertainty related to war do to the individual.

The University of Utah in the United States published an article authored by Dr. Steve Sugden, [a colonel in the US Army Reserve and a psychiatrist at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI)] about the psychological impact of total war on civilians who contract it through the media. Bellow are the highlights of this article:

"Thousands of kilometers away from the conflict, you may be watching the war in Ukraine in real time through a screen. Images of destruction, people in shelters, injured Ukrainian citizens and many other disturbing and tragic events.

The events in Ukraine, dubbed the first "social media war", are broadcast live not only on traditional media but also on apps like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok at a rate never seen before. Violent images and videos are spreading like wildfire. Some of the videos tagged with #UkraineWar have been viewed 600 million times in a matter of days. These images, videos and audio clips can be triggers with a huge psychological impact.

Global conflicts have always been problematic. Still, with the recent civil unrest in Syria, the instability in Iraq, conflicts in other countries, and the coronavirus pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine is yet another in an already long list of traumatic events that can negatively impact our mental health”.

"The long-term effects of trauma are significant," says Dr. Steve Sugden. Sugden knows firsthand what it's like to be on the battlefield and how trauma can affect our mental health. Sugden claims that there are some common effects of war on mental health and that those who watch Traumatic content are also at risk.

"Civilians, soldiers and those who consume the sights and sounds of war through social media can develop a typical psychological profile of trauma."

And here the question arises, how does the war affect our mental health?

Read more »