Foundation of the Work

Theory of True and False Self
The concept of an individual having an inherent authentic self that is becoming or has become repressed by a learned false-self has its origins on the work of paediatrician, psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Donald Winnicott.

Winnicott’s theory of the human personality and the conflicting personas of True and False-Self was developed from his understanding of the relationship between a mother and baby.

As a paediatrician, he observed that during the first twelve months of a baby’s life the mother is the portal through which sound, touch, physical nurture and attachment/bonding are critical factors in developing emotional security. Winnicott identified the critical role of the ‘good enough’ mother as adaptation (enhancing your environment) to the baby.

In this context, the baby has a sense of control, omnipotence (ever-present) and the comfort of being connected with the mother. This holding space allows the infant to transition in a healthy developmental manner where personal growth leads to child individuality and/or autonomy (self- government). Winnicott points out that the role of the ‘mother’ is reflective of any person who shows unconditional love towards the child.


On the other hand, the ‘not good enough’ mother can lead to ‘False-Self’ disorders in the child. In this context an unhealthy and pathological (repeats negative behaviour/s) False-Self never gains independence from the mother, and so never gets to transition to healthy independence.

Winnicott’s theory has been extended in a variety of contexts, both in psychoanalysis and beyond. The contents of this workbook material give a contemporary, therapeutic and practical interpretation of Winnicott’s theory. The inclusion of nature-based mindfulness serves to reinforce an individual’s transition from inauthenticity (False-Self to celebrating personal authenticity True-Self).

“Inauthenticity plays a character in a bid to be significate, concealed or masking pretense.”

David Moore

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