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EP21 Keynote 12 - What is a Self? - Diane Ackerman, MFA, PhD

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Topic Areas:
Keynotes |  Therapist Development
Evolution of Psychotherapy |  Evolution of Psychotherapy 2021
Diane Ackerman, MFA, PhD
1 hour
Audio Only
Original Program Date:
Dec 05, 2021
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Most of us feel reasonably intact and continuous, despite the constant commotion in our lives, our relationships, and our cells. But what exactly is a "Self?" In this talk I'll explore how the brain becomes the mind, and how it builds a sense of self (even a secret society of selves), to manage the everchanging mental fantasia in which we spend our days.

Learning Objectives

  1. We arrive in this world with the loose fabric of a self, which then tailors itself to the world that it finds. Learn how this sleight of mind-- a fluent, personal, durable sense of self-- is an elaborate illusion that's refined throughout one's life by both conscious and unconscious influences.
  2. Develop a better understanding of the "secret society of selves" that some people possess and experience as a plague, a gift, or paradoxically (in the case of artists, for example), both.
  3. Discover why the death of a loved one, or the end of a marriage or affair, can fracture one's sense of self, and the compelling role that plays in the sensory experience of grief.



Diane Ackerman, MFA, PhD's Profile

Diane Ackerman, MFA, PhD Related Seminars and Products

Diane Ackerman, MFA, PhD, is the author of 23 books of poetry and nonfiction, including most recently One Hundred Names for Love and The Zookeeper’s Wife. Of late, she has been writing on "nature and human nature" in the Opinion pages of The New York Times. She has the somewhat unusual distinction of having a molecule named after her—dianeackerone (a sex pheromone in crocodiles). She has taught at a number of  universities, including Columbia and Cornell. Her essays about nature and human nature have been appearing for decades in The New York Times, Smithsonian,  Parade, The New Yorker, National Geographic and many other journals. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by A Natural History of the Senses.