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Going Out Of Your Mind: The Growth of Self Through Subject-Object Differentiation

23 May 2011


This study assessed the current level of subject-object differentiation according to Robert Kegan’s theory of development of individuals by using the subject-object interview (Kegan, 1982; Lahey, L., Souvaine, E., Kegan, R., Goodman, R., & Felix, S.,1988). In addition to an assessment of subject-object development, the events that are perceived to be salient to the participants regarding what spurred their development were assessed as well. Ten participants were interviewed. Individuals were between the ages of 25 and 63 and all indicated their ethnicity as European American/European. Eight females and two males participated in the study. The findings of this study suggest that a combination of both crisis and support facilitate self growth. Additionally, the results indicate that individuals at differing levels of development perceive and experience support differently. Implications of these finds are discussed as they relate to current developmental theories, psychoanalytic theories, and the practice of psychotherapy.


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