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PSYB30H3 Lecture Notes - Sage Gateshead

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Marc A Fournier

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Week 10 Lecture:
The Life Story
Overview of Week 10 Lectures
Part I. Life-Story Formation
Part II. Life-Story Integration
Part III. Life-Story Revision
Overview of Part I
Life-Story Formation
Infancy—Narrative Tone
ChildhoodImagery & Theme
AdolescenceSetting & Character
Dimensions of Human Existence
Focus on the self
Formation of separations between the self and other things in the world
Striving for self-expansion and self-elevation; to grow
It reflects itself in the ideas of dominance, social rank and power
Focus on others
Formation of connections
Striving for contact and congregation with others
There are two separate motivations; one is a fundamental striving to enhance and
differentiate the self and the other complementary theme that strives to connect self
to others
These are meta-concepts; they cut across many concepts
The Tone of Infancy
Early infant-caregiver attachments serve to organize our experiences of trust vs.
To rely on someone to satisfy our needs
These early experiences of trust or mistrust produces this strength of hope
This early orientation sets the tone of the life story you will ultimately write
This tone is either going to be optimistic or pessimistic
Erik EriksonHope: The enduring belief in the attainability of fervent wishes
Optimistic stories (comedy & romance)
Have a common ending = happy endings; things work out

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Pessimistic stories (tragedy & irony)
Early Childhood Images
The nursery school child is busy acquiring a stockpile of rich, emotionally laden
images from family, school, the media, etc.
Culturally grounded or sanctioned images provide raw material for later life-story
Children are coming into contact to the larger society that arent directly mediating
through parents
This is a time when the child is busy acquiring images from family, school, religious
life etc
These images becomes building blocks of the later life narrative
Later Childhood Themes
Children are now able to reason in story terms
The elementary school child is able to organize human intentions into coherent
stories with beginnings, middles, & endings
As accounts of human intentions, stories tell what the characters are striving for
Themes of separation & mastery (agency)
Themes of union & solidarity (communion)
The natural container for human intentions are stories; Intentions only unfold in
story forms
There is a deep contention in the human mind between stories and intentions
Motivations are intentional characteristics; TAT to get people to write stories to
know their motivations (from previous lecture)
Adolescence & Ideological Settings
During adolescence, the setting of the story is set
The setting of the story is not geographical, it is ideological
It is by adolescence that we see individuals striving to come to terms with what their
ideological terms are
The teenager seeks an internally consistent and logical system of beliefs/valuesi.e.,
an ideology
It is when they ask questions that have moral connotation; what is good? What do I
The ideological setting answers the questions What is true? and What is good?
Ideology of justice (agency)

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Concern belief systems or value systems that put a primacy on human
rights and human freedoms which pays homage to the agentic side of
the human nature
The agentic side reflects the human striving to expand and elevate
Ideology of care (communion)
Refer to belief systems or value systems that put premium on
responsibility and obligation
Adolescence & Story Characters
It is also a time when you choose a character for yourself and you begin to determine
the character you will play in your life story
The Imago
The main character in a persons life story
A personalized and idealized image of the self
Functions of the Imago
Consolidate culturally scripted social roles, which become internalized and
expanded to broadly apply to a wide range of life activities
Agency, Communion, & the Imago
The Warrior / Ruler
The Traveler
The Sage
The Counselor
The Teacher
The Healer
The Wage-Earner
The Escapist
The Survivor
The Loyal Friend
The Caregiver
The Lover
Standards of Good Life-Story Form
CREDIBILITYHistorical Fidelity
Must be true or consistent with historical record
You cant make something up
COHERENCEInternal Consistency
Is your story sensible? Understandable beginning, middle and imaginable end
DIFFERENTIATIONThematic Complexity
There should be ideally clearly identifiable themes in your story
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