Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. John Geisler

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson


Theory and research about psychological development tends to be dichotomized into two broad approaches that have never been integrated. The one is Piagetian-based cognitive-developmentalism, and the other is Freudian-based psychoanalytic developmentalism. The first predominates in academic research and application and the second in clinical research and therapy. This dissertation is a theoretical integration of the Piagetian-based theory of Robert Kegan with the Freudian-based theory of Heinz Kohut known as self psychology. A rationale for the integration of these two theories is given, along with an overview of each theory with respect to their developmental aspects. Analysis of their respective basic concepts and constructs is provided, demonstrating differences as well as underlying similarities. These concepts include definitions of the self, Kohut's "selfobject" and Kegan's "culture of embeddedness, 11 and their respective notions of the intrapsychic aspects of the process of psychological growth. A model that integrates the stages on Kegan's developmental helix with Kohut's self-selfobject constellations is offered. It is suggested that the common premise that underlies their views has to do with the bipolarity of each view--that the unity of the self is composed of the balanced opposites of autonomy versus inclusion.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access