The Social Dynamics of Self-Esteem: Theory to Therapy

By R. A. Steffenhagen; Jeff D. Burns | Go to book overview

Preface

In writing this book we had several audiences in mind: the scholar, the professional, and the student. This may seem an insurmountable task, but in reality all three may be one and the same. Working down from the top, a scholar is simultaneously a professional and a student; and from the bottom, the student is a budding professional and scholar. Too often, we tend to underestimate our students' intellectual ability. We believe that this text can be used successfully by all three audiences, with each taking away something of significant value. While the presentation of the material is primarily rigorous and thought-provoking, we have attempted to delineate a historical and comprehensive foundation for the development of SelfEsteem Therapy (SET), a work in progress.

Dr. R. A. Steffenhagen became a specialist in drug research in 1968. Focusing upon student drug use, he continued with empirical research until 1978. In 1974, however, Dr. Heinz Ansbacher, a noted Adlerian psychologist and friend, had suggested he reinterpret his findings within the Adlerian theoretical perspective. It was then that fascinating evidence made clear the need to create a functional theory of drug abuse based upon a selfesteem model. From 1978 to the present Dr. Steffenhagen has been working on the development and refinement of a self-esteem theory of drug abuse. As the research continued and from the insights he gained from his practice in pychotherapy, he expanded the theory to become a self -- esteem theory of deviance; that is, low self-esteem is postulated as the basic psychodynamic mechanism underlying all forms of deviance or maladjustment, not just drug abuse. Since 1982 Dr. Steffenhagen and Jeff D. Burns have been working on the development of a social psychology of self-esteem based upon this premise.

Since William James and Alfred Adler the concept of self-esteem has been

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