This paper is a comparison of the theories of Erikson, Winnicott, and Neumann from an analytical psychological viewpoint. In it I present brief case studies with the purpose of enhancing understanding of human development when people are involved with a clinical setting.
Winnicott’s(1968 /2000, pp.201 221) concept of self that includes the notions of “true self” and “false self” is very similar to the concept of Self in Jungian psychology. We can also detect that this concept is related to that of ego and persona as well. The Self wants to actualize itself through the individual and the collective and develops ego for this purpose. This can be interpreted as a basic step for integrating the whole personality. The ego plays a role of compromising between desires from the inner world and influences/motivations from the outer world. It controls the desires by connecting with the outer world for the integration of the whole personality. Meanwhile, the persona is developed in order to protect the ego. For a healthy developmental process, the persona protects the ego so that the ego can maintain an appropriate connection with the Self internally, while adjusting itself appropriately externally. As was mentioned by Winnicott, development of a false self may be necessary in an individual’s adaptation to outer world. However, if the ego identifies itself only with the persona, thus losing connection with the Self, then the mental health of the individual becomes vulnerable. Subsequently, this condition is related to the concept of identity loss or weak identity formation as mentioned by Erikson(1968). Moreover, Neumann’s(1973) so‐called “distressed” ego or “negativized” ego will develop. During the process of development, the personality in terms of identity strucuture is divided into two parts, one part that becomes conscious as a result of being preferred by parents and family and the other a shadow that becomes unconscious as a result of being ignored or rejected,. However, the shadow still has an influence on the ego function of the individual. James Hall(1983) categorized Jung’s conceptualized psychological structures into the following two groups in order to facilitate understanding of the dynamic interaction between them: identity structure and relationship structure. He basically viewed the ego and shadow as identity structure(pp.14 15), which is a phenomenon similar to how Erikson(1968) conceptualized identity.