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In Search Of Self Essay

1271 words - 6 pages

“Dibs: In search of Self” written by renowned psychologist Virginia Axline, tells the true story of a Boy named Dibs, who she had helped develop a strong and able personality in a previously disturbed child. When Axline begins her story she first describes how Dibs had just started school, and how he was exhibiting some strange social behavior. Sometimes he would sit in class totally mute and oblivious to everything that was going on around him. When he was asked to join a game that other children in his class where playing, he turned away without saying anything and retreated to safety under a table, laying there prone in a fetal position. Other times when it was time to leave school or if ...view middle of the document...

Through the account that Axline gives in this book, Dibs’ came forth to meet some abrupt forces within his life, but through it all Dibs’ emerged into having a higher sense of self and through his disparity rose to have the personality of a strong and able leader.
Through reading this book I naturally had many questions about Dibs’ personality, interactions with others, and mental capacity. One of the many things that has been questioned countless times in the study of psychology, as well as by myself in trying to understand Dibs, is whether it is nature or nurture that formed his personal and social development. Dibs’ parents who where very accomplished and brilliant people where ashamed and embarrassed by their son because he displayed to them behavior that was below their standard of intelligence. Dibs’ mother had explained to Axline at length how he was “remote and untouchable” and showed antisocial behavior. In reading this book I had discovered by looking at what Dibs and his parents had expressed, that nature and biological heredity are not to blame in Dibs coming off as having a mental disability. In each one of his Play Therapy sessions, Dibs expressed clearly through his play that he was considered an outcast within his own family. He would experiment to understand (like most children do) in his own home, but each time he would be criticized for everything, that everything he did was wrong. So without having the unconditional love and acceptance of his family that is necessary in a child’s early psychological development, Dibs’ had no idea who he was as a person and refrained from social interaction because of his fear of rejection.
As the book progressed I was intrigued by Axline’s use of Play Therapy in order to understand who Dibs was as a person and how he processed different experiences. Through Dibs’ troubled family life and his pursuit of making sense of the world, I had wondered what effects Axline’s Play Therapy would have on his cognitive development. In each Play Therapy session, Dibs would play with something such as a dollhouse, toy soldiers, or model buildings, and recreate the world from his point of view through metaphorical play. For example when he would play with the toy soldiers, he chose one of them to symbolically represent his father. As he was playing, he expressed anger towards his father for having a lack of faith in him by burying the toy solider that represented his father at the bottom of a sandbox. When Axline would ask Dibs questions about the relationship with his father or any other topic, which made him uncomfortable, he...

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