Individual and large-group identity: parallels in development and characteristics in stability and crisis.
A comprehensive understanding of international and interethnic conflict must include a psychological dimension. This paper explores concepts of individual and large-group identity, their inherent connection, and some essential large-group rituals that aim to repair and maintain them. Human psychological development not only involves dynamics associated with one's parents, family, and intimate environment, but also those of one's ethic, religious or national group. Although this may simply be called "acculturation", the evolution of large-group identity involves specific psychological processes. When a large group perceives that its identity is threatened, the group and its individual members typically experience anxiety which is then expressed in certain ritualistic behaviors that can range from benign to highly malignant. Social scientists, diplomats and others who seek to analyze social and political phenomena and formulate policies related to them could benefit from a better understanding of these aspects of human interaction. (+info)
What does it mean to be a donor offspring? The identity experiences of adults conceived by donor insemination and the implications for counselling and therapy.
In the absence of research with adult donor offspring, this study begins to bridge that gap by asking individuals about their experiences as donor offspring and considering the implications for psychotherapeutic and counselling practice. Sixteen participants (13 male, three female, age range 26-55 years) recruited through donor insemination support networks in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, were sent semi-structured questionnaires by E-mail and post. Using identity process theory as a framework for understanding participants' accounts, the data were qualitatively analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Participants consistently reported mistrust within the family, negative distinctiveness, lack of genetic continuity, frustration in being thwarted in the search for their biological fathers and a need to talk to a significant other (i.e. someone who would understand). These experiences could be postulated as being indicative of a struggle to assimilate, accommodate and evaluate information about their new identities as donor offspring. Psychotherapists and counsellors need to be aware of these identity issues if they are to meet the needs of donor offspring within therapeutic practice. (+info)
Faith, identity, and leukemia: when blood products are not an option.
Shortly before his death in 1995, Kenneth B. Schwartz, a cancer patient at Massachusetts General Hospital, founded the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center. The Schwartz Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing compassionate health care delivery, which provides hope to the patient, support to caregivers, and sustenance to the healing process. The center sponsors the Schwartz Center Rounds, a monthly multidisciplinary forum where caregivers reflect on important psychosocial issues faced by patients, their families, and their caregivers and gain insight and support from fellow staff members. When a competent adult patient refuses lifesaving treatment for religious or personal reasons, caregivers have a legal obligation to respect this decision. A patient's refusal of treatment adds particular challenges to the delivery of compassionate care. The case of a 50-year-old Jehovah's Witness with acute myelocytic leukemia who declined blood product support is presented. Respecting her religious beliefs during chemotherapy required balancing risk and benefit, watching her suffer while unable to intervene with what the staff saw as simple treatment, and eventually undertaking a complicated grief process. Jehovah's Witness beliefs regarding blood products are reviewed. Caregiver roles and responsibilities are discussed in the context of psychosocial, legal, familial, and ethical issues. (+info)
'Stealing me from myself': identity and recovery in personal accounts of mental illness.
A case of "borrowed identity syndrome" after severe traumatic brain injury.
BACKGROUND: It is well known that traumatic brain injury often changes the way the patient perceives reality, which often means a distortion of the perception of self and the world. The purpose of this article is to understand the processes of identity change after traumatic brain injury. CASE REPORT: We describe progressive deterioration in personal identity in a former physician who had sustained a serious head injury (1998), resulting in focal injuries to the right frontal and temporal areas. He regained consciousness after 63 days in coma and 98 days of post-traumatic amnesia, but has since displayed a persistent loss of autobiographical memory, self-image, and emotional bonds to family and significant others. Qualitative 'life-story' interviewing was undertaken to explore the mental state of a patient whose subjective, "first person" identity has been disengaged, despite the retention of significant amounts of objective, "third person" information about himself and his personal history (though this was also lost at a later stage in the patient's deterioration). Identity change in our patient was characterized by a dynamic and convoluted process of contraction, expansion and tentative balance. Our patient tends to cling to the self of others, borrowing their identities at least for the period he is able to remember. Identity is closely connected with the processes of memory. CONCLUSIONS: The results will be examined in relation to the microgenetic theory of brain function. The brain mechanisms that may account for these impairments are discussed. Findings from this study have important implications for the delivery of person-focused rehabilitation. (+info)