JOURNAL ARTICLE CRITIQUE
Parker, Stephen; Davis, Edward “The False Self in Christian Contexts: A Winnicottian Perspective.” Journal of Psychology and Christianity 28 (April 2009): 315-325.
THEO 525 LUO (Spring 2011)
Systematic Theology I
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
Rebecca Jordan (ID# 146979)
March 14, 2011
Parker and Davis discuss Winnicott’s theory of the false self within a Christian context. Covered are the circumstances under which a false self can develop, the areas in which the false self are manifested, and the treatment of the false self phenomenon from the perspective of a Christian care-giver. According to the authors, in describing the false self, Winnicott also acknowledged its counterpart - the authentic self. The false self is presented as a defense mechanism from a developmental standpoint that is a likely response to any of several forms of abuse in infanthood, even if the abuse is present in the form of parental deficiency, rather than overtly abusive behavior. Winnicott maintains the false self pervades into adult with the only consideration being the degree to which one exhibit’s the false self. For some it is the polite and somewhat aloof persona presented to the general public while for others it is a complete splintering of the personality. The false self manifests in several areas in a Christian life. Parker and Davis detail Winnicott’s description of each of the following areas: compliance, reactivity, deadness, over-intellectualized faith and impinging God-images. Winnicott makes a particularly poignant warning when he says that when a false self is dominant in the life a Christian, it will pervade even the personal relationship that the individual has with Jesus.
The authors discuss Winnicott’s concept of the false self in terms of development, application, dangers, and treatment. The stated goal of the article is to offer a picture of the false self, how it develops, ways in...