Developing a sense of self or an identity is an essential part of every individual becoming mature. Identity or parts of identity may be classified by any number of things such as religion, gender, or ethnicity. Some traits, such as race, are set at birth. Some traits may be modified later in life such as language(s) spoken or religious preferences. Struggling with various parts of identity is natural and normal. Developing an identity or sense of self and those traits a person desires to have can take time and may be challenging. Not having a strong sense of self or struggling with identity issues may lead to anxiety and insecurity.
One may find themself struggling with identity issues which lead to depression, hopelessness, addiction, and more. Psychotherapy offers a place in which people may discuss the issues related to their identity. Through psychotherapy, people may reduce their depression, find ways to cope with struggles associated with their identity issues, and ultimately find themselves in the process.
Certain mental health conditions may give an individual a distorted view of their identity. For example:
- Someone with codependency may rely on others' opinions to form their sense of self.
- Someone with depression may falsely believe they are "worthless" or unloved.
- Someone with delusions of grandeur might believe they are a spiritual figure or a celebrity.
- Someone with generalized amnesia may forget who they are altogether.
In dissociative identity disorder (DID), a person may develop multiple identities called "alters." These alters often have distince personalities, mannerisms, and so on. A person may have gaps in their memory from when another identity was active. Therapy for DID often aims to integrate alters into one cohesive self.
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