Pinocchio and the Unattained Identity: Jervis Contribution to Child Clinical Psychology

Stefano Meacci


Giovanni Jervis is mainly known as a psychiatrist, but he also worked on psychological methodology and tackled important issues in clinical psychology. This essay describes the concept of personal identity elaborated by Jervis and its importance in Child Clinical Psychology. The problems related to personal identity appear very early in Jervis work, influenced by the ethnologist Ernesto De Martino. His first considerations are found in his Preface to The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (1968), in which Jervis describes the unhappy upbringing, the anti social behaviour, and the unattained identity of the wooden puppet. Subsequently, in Presenza e identità (1984), fondamenti di Psicologia Dinamica (1993) and La conquista dellidentità (1997), Jervis dealt with the theme of identity from a Dynamic Psychology perspective, showing that the formation of personal identity is a basic aspect of the development of the individual that starts in early childhood. 


Key words: Self concept - Self recognition - Personal identity 

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