Phenomenological Reviews

Series | Book | Chapter


A formulation of the ego and its context

Ian R Owen

pp. 241-261


The question that drives this chapter is "how do we get an agreed understanding of everyday psychological events?' The answer provided is that there are a number of reflectively identifiable aspects that people can recognise so any instance can be related to ideals and universals: This is the worth of the technical language of pure psychology. It would be possible to carry out many more intentional formulations of the sort made below. But rather than do that this chapter provides one sufficiently detailed example of how intentionality explains the on-set of social anxiety and how relaxation can be restored. The introductory examples of the last chapter showed how to interpret specific other people's experiences through understanding intentionality. This chapter looks at the specific example of social anxiety and the relationship with self as they indicate the more general relationship between self and others in intersubjectivity. The mental states that others have can only be grasped from what appears perceptually when they are present but empathy and imagining empathy also exist at pre-reflexive and egoic levels which are different and can overlap in positive or negative ways. This chapter provides a concrete example of the on-set of a psychological syndrome where low self-esteem co-occurs with social anxiety. This chapter introduces the major topic of understanding intentional "cause' and effect in the lives of others and how to work with them in creating understanding, sharing it and identifying places where there is the opportunity for influence over the parts of the whole that constitute the distress and impaired functioning that clients want help with. The chapter closes with the consequences of this view for treatment and how to understand others empathically.

Publication details

Published in:

Owen Ian R (2015) Phenomenology in action in psychotherapy: on pure psychology and its applications in psychotherapy and mental health care. Dordrecht, Springer.

Pages: 241-261

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-13605-9_13

Full citation:

Owen Ian R (2015) A formulation of the ego and its context, In: Phenomenology in action in psychotherapy, Dordrecht, Springer, 241–261.