Disavowing the Past: A Maneuver to Protect Self-Esteem
Grayson P A
Contends that disavowing past behavior safeguards self-esteem by defining threatening material as part of the past, outside the boundaries of the self. Two case studies, involving a 40-year-old alcoholic man and a suicidal woman in her thirties, illustrate the maneuver. It is suggested that sometimes the therapist tries to help patients distance past issues, while at other times he/she challenges patient disavowal.