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Module I:



Do I know you? If so, can you tell me who I am?

In her recent Book The Mirror and the Palette, the Australian writer and painter Jennifer Higgie writes: Unless you’re intent on creating an imaginative world, to paint a self-portrait, in the most literal sense- an image of what you look like- you need to be able to see yourself. But seeing yourself isn’t a straightforward activity: to look into a mirror can result in as much deceit as understanding (pg. 23). 

What makes it possible for us to see ourselves? And is what we perceive as our self without deceit? It is clear that there is a relationship between seeing oneself, recognizing or grasping oneself, and thinking about oneself. Lacanian Psychoanalysis throws light on this relationship by orienting us to the centrality of our image. But how and why an image is capable of accomplishing this feat is far from straightforward and is arguable one of the most crucial aspects of understanding serious mental illness. 

In this first module, we are going to address the psychological importance of images culminating in the formation of a personal image and so-called sense of self or personality. We will also discuss how this sense of self produces meaning. Indeed, a meaning that is often full or totalizing. Additionally, we will address the psychological effects produced by fragmented personal images, which are often seen in serious mental illness, and discuss potential interventions.



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