Who are we really? The image we have of our "self" is derived largely from our experiences of who we are, from who we would like to be, and from who we are told we are by others. It is a sense that changes over the years that begins to develop in early childhood and grows (or is stunted) through experimenting and testing in early relationships and later relationships in life, composed of various images which we strive to integrate over time. It is that core "someone" who we often may suppress for fear of ridicule, or loss of support, or fear of failure.
Lack of active support for us to express our "real-self," especially in our early years, often leads us, as adults, to feeling unsatisfied, frustrated, and neglected--trying "so hard to be all things to all people," "doing what is expected or required"--and no longer being sure of what is personally meaningful. And we fail to realize that expressing our real feelings and needs is not the same as being narcissistically entitled. Thus, expressing the real self takes courage and requires a healthy sense of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and agency, and involves capacities for closeness, intimacy, creativity, self-soothing, and repair. Many of us are afraid to take the chance. That is why this book was written. Letting Go and Taking the Chance to be Real is about the processes involved in becoming real again or perhaps for the first time.
Sherron Lewis, LMFT and Shelley Stokes, Ph.D.
"Sherron Lewis LMFT and Shelley Stokes Ph.D. have accomplished what few other authors have, namely, they have written a book that is at once both profoundly practical and, at the same time, firmly anchored in rigorous psychoanalytic theory regarding disorders of the self. Their work is replete not only with insightful clinical anecdotes, but also with courageous and deeply illuminating revelations of their own emotional lives, by which they model for their readers that authenticity which is an antidote to the toxic shame both which keeps our patients' false selves perched precariously in place and which makes us less effective as therapists. This product of their collaboration, a combination of many years of experience and clinical wisdom by two master clinicians, is a superb gift to the psychotherapy community and is essential reading for every therapist."
Avak Howsepian, MD, Ph.D., Psychiatry and Neurology, Veterans Affairs Central California, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Univ. of California, San Francisco
"This new book by Sherron Lewis and Shelley Stokes represents the latest synthesis of James Masterson's work, integrating it with other contemporary writers in a way that results in a practical guide for both the lay person interested in personal growth or the clinician on the critical subject of becoming your real self. It's a very engaging and meaningful book, a must read "
Joseph P. Farley, MFT, Director of the Masterson Institute