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Self Direction

The ability to direct oneself contributes, quite substantially, to the wellbeing and the social acceptance of a person. There, where psychodynamics run without direction, i.e. when someone is no longer able to control what he does, thinks, feels, hears, speaks, perceives, one usually describes that someone as crazy, as having a psychosis. Humans need the possibility of directing themselves. In many psychological concepts this is designated by the term ‘self’. This is the word we use, but we mean something else in this matter. We think that this direction comes about from an interplay of a whole series of internal processes. To conceptualise this interplay as a fixed entity (THE self), does not appear to us a helpful metaphor. It copies an unfavourable, hierarchical model of control (pope, king, emperor) into the interior of the psyche. However, hierarchical concepts neither fit that which one knows about the functional methods and the processing of perceptions in the brain, nor are such concepts sufficiently effective in coping with high levels of complexity. They are also in contradiction to fundamental, difference-theoretical assumptions within this approach. For the purpose of describing this theory, we present psychodynamics in such a way that it becomes visible as an interaction between eight guiding distinctions, which enable a dynamic form of stability and direction. How this dynamic stability is created, how it can be changed and where the dysfunctionalities lie, is a subject in the metatheory of psychological change.

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