Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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The superego is that which is above the ego and commands the ego to act in only specific ways. Superego can be both positive and negative.

Positive superego develops our sense of conscience, what is right and wrong.

Negative superego represents the internal punishing and denying force that makes us feel we are failures and not worthy of making our own choices. This course of action is mostly about behaving according to the wishes of parents, society and others, so the superego can prove to be very limiting of personal freedom.

During the early years of the psychoanalytic tradition it was recognized that much human misery was the result of having too strong a negative superego; nowadays practitioners are concerned that some people do not exercise enough positive superego control through conscience.

Popularly, superego is associated with only the negative version of tradition and parental demands but this view does its positive aspects an injustice.
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