Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski

Second Advisor

Hale Martin

Third Advisor

Christine DeVore


Intersubjectivity, Intersubjective systems theory, Psychodynamic, Anger, Differentiation


The anger-turned-inward theory of depression has been extensively explored in psychodynamic literature. Still, little has been written about how modern relational approaches work with anger to aid patients in developing a healthy self-concept. This paper will first focus on a literature review of anger in Self Psychology and Intersubjective Systems Theory. These theories view anger as the manifestation of asserting one’s self after narcissistic injury. This paper will explore the relationship between anger and depression with an intersubjective lens utilizing the case study of Martha. Here I conceptualize depression as an introjective defense against misattuned early relational experiences. I explore how understanding and re-experiencing anger in the therapeutic space has aided Martha in moving towards healthy self-cohesion. This paper will demonstrate how Martha’s patterns of pathological accommodation and the porous self-other boundaries within Martha’s family system prevented her from consciously identifying and exploring her anger. This paper illuminates that it is through a compassionate co-created understanding of anger that Martha was able to express previously disavowed internal emotional experiences and thereby begin to embody a new self-assured posture within her life.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

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25 pgs