Dis-identity in the postmodern epoch: self-differentiation and interpersonal relationships before and after a group experience

Anna Maria Ferraro, Cinzia Guarnaccia, Cristina Mineo, Linda Giusino, Anna Ruggirello, Francesca Giannone


Starting from some considerations on postmodern society, this study proposes “dis-identity” concept as key to read the existential condition expressed today by many young-adults and the emergence of new forms of suffering and psychopathological figures.

Theoretical reflections is followed by a descriptive research that analyzes some identity aspects and the interpersonal functioning of 21 young adults who chose to participate in a research project aimed to explore the “dis-identity” theme, inside 3 psychodynamic oriented focus-group. The study also aimed to verify possible changes that have occurred in the participants, from the start and end of the group experience and to monitor the groups process. Self-report were completed to evaluate both the identity aspects and the group process. Results highlight, on average, a lack of self-differentiation in the young participants, but also an improvement of this capacity, and of some relational skills during the group experience. Significant associations also emerge between cohesion and alliance in the groups, self-differentiation and interpersonal problems. Therefore, starting from the theoretical premises and the research results, and in agreement with recent clinical publications, this contribution concludes with a reflection on the possible interpretations about new forms of psychic suffering involving the basic structures of identity. Results also allow insights on the psychodynamic focus group set(ting), as experience positively associated with the improvement of the investigated conditions.


identity; dis-identity; postmodernity; self; interpersonal-problems

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363