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The Redemptive SelfStories Americans Live By$
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Dan P. McAdams

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195176933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176933.001.0001

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MY GOOD INNER SELF: FROM EMERSON TO OPRAH

MY GOOD INNER SELF: FROM EMERSON TO OPRAH

Chapter:
(p.119) Five MY GOOD INNER SELF: FROM EMERSON TO OPRAH
Source:
The Redemptive Self
Author(s):

Dan P. McAdams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176933.003.0006

This chapter examines key themes in the redemptive self as expressed in the tradition of American self-help and in well-known theories of psychological development. It opens with a survey of American self-help books from the past fifty years and then traces themes of self-help — including the notion that everybody has a good and true inner self that should be explored and eventually actualized in psychological development — from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century through Freud (who rejected Emerson's view), the humanistic psychologies of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, attachment theory, and the self-psychology of Heinz Kohut, and culminating with Oprah Winfrey's extraordinarily American vision of the redemptive self as the recovery of one's original good essence in the face of poverty, addiction, or abuse.

Keywords:   self-help, popular psychology, Sigmund Freud, Heinz Kohut, attachment theory

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