Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2009


The term identity refers to how one defines the self. As can probably be inferred based on the previous statement, the concept of identity formation is complex. Scholars from several schools of thought have hypothesized about identity for centuries, yet the concept of identity development remains an elusive one to say the least. The lack of consensus regarding what the term 'identity' encompasses has made research endeavors rather difficult. Nevertheless, there is an extensive literature base on identity and selfhood, making it all but impossible to provide an exhaustive review within the confines of one paper. Therefore, the current paper will review some of the leading identity theories that consider social forces to play a major role in how one comes to view and define the self. Furthermore, the clinical implications of such theoretical views will be discussed and illustrated through a case example.

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