Self-reproach and personal responsibility

Psychiatry. 2006 Spring;69(1):21-5. doi: 10.1521/psyc.2006.69.1.21.


A confusion exists between the aims of psychotherapy of diminishing self-reproach, on the one hand, and increasing the experience of personal responsibility, on the other. In order to clarify this problem a distinction is made between moral responsibility, central to self-reproach, and psychological responsibility or agency. Self-reproach is shown to be inimical to the experience of psychological responsibility, with reference to psychotherapy of a case of severe obsessive self-reproach.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy
  • Ego*
  • Female
  • Guilt*
  • Humans
  • Psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology