The Disowned Self

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The Disowned Self
The Disowned Self (cover).jpg
Paperback edition cover
Author Nathaniel Branden
Language English
Subject Psychology, Self-Esteem, Self-Alienation, Psychotherapy
Genre Non-Fiction
Publisher Bantam Books
Publication date
1972 (1979 sixth printing) Last release 1984
Media type Book
Pages 256 (first edition)
ISBN 0-8402-1212-7 (first edition)

The Disowned Self is a book written by Nathaniel Branden in 1971 and published in 1972.[1] It was Branden's third book in the area of psychology (preceded by The Psychology of Self-Esteem and Breaking Free).


The Disowned Self explores, "...the problem of self-alienation - a condition in which the individual is out of contact with his own needs, feelings, emotions, frustrations and longings, so that he is largely oblivious to his actual self and his life is the reflection of an unreal self, of a role he has adopted. The problem of obliviousness to self, the causes and consequences of such obliviousness, and its treatment psychotherapeutically - is the theme of this book."[2]

Branden describes the process whereby individuals become disconnected from their inner experience. The book reintroduces, in an abbreviated form, Branden's previously published theory of psychology and the central role played by self-esteem. It goes on to provide a philosophical foundation for the psychological theory of the disowned self. The book gives detailed descriptions of patients experiencing the problem, the history of their problems, and the treatments used by Branden. One method emphasized by Branden is the use of "sentence stems", a therapeutic technique he developed years earlier.

In the Appendix, the book contains a reprint of an interview with Branden published from Reason magazine where he discusses his work and this book in particular. There is also a reprint of a chapter on emotions taken from The Psychology of Self-Esteem.

The first edition was published by Nash Publications in January 1972 with two reissues. Then the second edition was issued in paperback by Bantam Books in June, 1973, followed by more or less annual reissues through 1984.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Branden, Nathaniel (1999). My Years with Ayn Rand. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p. 369. ISBN 0-7879-4513-7. 
  2. ^ Branden, Nathaniel (1979). The Disowned Self. London: Bantam. p. xi. ISBN 0-553-27867-3.