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The Menace Within: Obsessions and the Self

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The current article attempts to provide a theoretical account of obsessions about blasphemy, sexuality, and aggression from an inference-based perspective. It is argued that self-evaluative and self-representational dimensions in obsessions need to be taken into account to allow for the misrepresentation of mental states. A persuasive narrative containing rhetorical devices informs the misrepresentation of mental states and gives credibility to the obsession. These narrative devices seem to originate from a distrust of the self where the person overinvests in a sense of self-as-could-be rather than a sense of self-as-is, which consequently gives rise to a discordance between the person and the obsession (i.e., egodystonicity). The article concludes with some theoretical and clinical implications for cognitive models of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2007

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