The Multiple Growth Areas and Proposed Law of the Self-Evaluative Mechanism
Could There Be a “Master Personality Mechanism”?
Joseph W. Ferrara, EdD


Fifty-six (56) years of assiduous clinical work as a psychologist in state psychiatric hospitals, comprehensive community mental health centers/clinics, schools for the mentally retarded, teaching undergraduate and graduate psychology courses and currently in private practice performing comprehensive forensic and differential diagnostic psychological evaluations, analytical mental health counseling/psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults has manifested the profound significance of the self-evaluative mechanism or covert and overt self-esteem in both the regulation or licensed mental health treatment and management of patient behavior (4).

Hidden deep in our common shadowy, dysfunctional unconscious human mind are living many classified secrets, taboo wishes, forbidden desires and antisocial urges which our state of awareness and degree of both overt and covert self-esteem have to hourly cope with as our electrochemical brain through varied social sensory-channel experiences and level of awareness becomes a cogitating human mind, they are our past and they are our future. These unthinkable and unspeakable primal wishes, desires and urges are incessant, automatic and involuntary stressful demands on our self-evaluated mechanism housed in a mammalian body.

The oversimplification and overuse of self-esteem has led to both misunderstanding and underestimating its nurturing and/or lethal antecedents and subsequent desirable or fatal consequences, a tragedy (2). Nevertheless:

I. Do the different psychogenic psychiatric diagnostic disorders have a common denominator which can fit into a single treatment program, irrespective of patients’ intake complaints or systems?
II. Does a mental health counselor/psychotherapist need separate treatment theories and programs for individual, marriage, family and group psychotherapy when treating anxiety/anger, depression/elation, schizophrenia, suicidal/homicidal obsessions, eating disorders, dysfunctional relationships, alcohol/drug compulsions, dependency/passivity and related symptoms?
III. Which psychotherapy theory is best or is there a common denominator among the major established theories which fit into a single treatment program?
IV. As the pituitary “master gland” on a physical level allegedly asserts “various regulation and controlling dominance of our endocrine system”, could there be on a psychological level a “master personality mechanism” which regulates and controls human personality and overt behavior?
V. How might the context, content, structure and function of the self-evaluative mechanism become rational, healthy and wholesome?
VI. Can such a treatment program bring success, happiness and a prosperous, loving life?



To answer the foregoing questions, a perusal of the relevant bibliographic research body of established clinical hypnosis (8 & 15), psychotherapy (11, 12 & 13), psychopathology (1, 10 & 13), personality (5, 6, 9 & 13) and learning theorists (3 & 6) essentially designate that regardless of its type, our core degree of self-esteem (2, 14 & 16) acts as the “tap root”, “heart” or “backbone” and thus perhaps a “master personality mechanism” which regulates human choices and subsequent consequences which determines life’s desirable or undesirable outcomes. With every beat of our heart, breath and step we take, our invisible self-evaluative mechanism is involuntarily, silently passing our introjected and imprinted value-judgment on us which in turn becomes our identity, self-concept and destiny(16). Most commonly, self-esteem/acceptance is obsessively contingent upon the multi-axial intractive and interactive performance of the following cluster of symptoms or factors, i.e., common everyday muti-axial conditional sources of both covert and overt self-esteem (10).

Common Multi-Axial Conditional Sources of Self-Esteem:

Axis I. Body type/image, libido/sex drive, appearance, age, gender and race/nationality.
Axis II. Fears, threats, intimidation, security/insecurity, vulnerability and punishment/rewards.
Axis III. Attention, compulsively pleasing others, approval/disapproval, acceptance/rejection and authority/power.
Axis IV. Insults, antagonism, pride/humiliation, aggression, anti-social/criminal behaviors.
Axis V. Family habits, social rituals, political customs, religious laws/beliefs and/or civic group(s)’ traditions and membership(s).
Axis VI. Intelligence level and range, education/grades, feelings of adequacy/inadequacy and achievements/publicity, sports/athletics.
Axis VII. Employment/unemployment, occupation/profession/titles and fame/fortune.
Axis VIII. Income, possessions/assets, popularity/recognition and awards.

Consequently, the most important value-judgment we will ever make is the value our conscience on the unconscious level part of the self-evaluative mechanism places on ourselves and subsequently others. How we regard and accept ourselves defines how we value and treat ourselves and others which determines our operational sense of worth, adequacy, usefulness and future happiness. Our level of awareness and degree of both covert and overt self-esteem acts as the origin and direction setter for what we think, feel, say and do. We communicate accepting and/or rejecting thoughts and affect/feelings with words towards and about ourselves and others both covertly and overtly. Through our sensory channels both our unconscious mind and the social DNA or context and content of our background involuntarily actuates Imax mental images which in turn generates needs, wishes, feelings and desires. These images are then automatically transmitted into the electrochemical neuron structure of the cells in the tissues of our brain. Our brain then forms an indelible, obsessive memory of the Imax image or context which, in turn, becomes a compulsive mental/emotional overt habit in our relationships with ourselves and others, dictating our present and future life.


This study defines the self-evaluative mechanism or self-esteem as both covert and overt degrees of assessed conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings, and actions towards and about ourselves and others of human worth, acceptance, belongingness, usefulness and adequacy. Figure No. I. is a cell outlining and describing the structure and function of the multiple cognitive, affective and behavioral growth areas of our self-evaluative mechanism and the three (3) types of sociogenic or learned self-esteem traits.

FIGURE No. I. – Cell of Multiple Growth Areas of Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Sociogenic Self-Esteem Traits of Self Evaluated Mechanism

Our every cognition/thought, feeling and act is an effort of our level of awareness, i.e., what we consciously and unconsciously know to gratify our core need to feel worthwhile, accepted, useful and adequate. Our level of awareness is the clarity with which we perceive both consciously and unconsciously all the factors that affect our lives. Our level of awareness determines the value and worth of our degrees of self-esteem which in turn conjointly dictates our choices that set in motion the desirable or undesirable consequences we, our loved ones and society will have to cope with. The bipolar terms of drive is motivation and mismotivation which are coexisting, simultaneous choices passing first through the unconscious prior to any choice, action and subsequence consequences. Motivation is operationally defined as the ability to perceive healthy, wholesome and desirable benefits arising from any proposed choice or action. Mismotivation is defined as any choice which sets in motion unhealthy, undesirable or unwholesome consequences.

Reportedly, the white corpuscles of our immune system is intolerant of pathogens and makes an immediate value-judgement to attack without doubt when our bodies are invaded by infection. Doubt, tolerance or appeasement of germs by our immune system’s value-judgement would be fatal to our bodies. Thus, as blood is life to our bodies, the self-evaluative mechanism is to our personality’s health subsequent prosperous life. This research has identified and defined three (3) major types of self-esteem which make up the composition of the self-evaluative mechanisms as being:

I. Sociogenic/Learned Type-A self-esteem/Conditional (most common)
II. Sociogenic/Learned Type-B self-esteem/Unconditional (uncommon, Rx. objective)
III. Sociogenic/Learned Type-AB self-esteem/Mixed Transactional (experienced during Rx. maturation)

Self-evaluative mechanism is determined by the attachments or conditions our level of awareness uses as multi-axial sources that generate thoughts, feelings and actions/performance which in turn define our human worth, acceptance, belongingness, productiveness and adequacy. By knowing the multi-axial antecedents or sources to which our level of awareness attaches and defines our degree of self-esteem/acceptance, we are able to both treat and predict patient behavior.


This longitudinal study was a male and female group of 25 patients diagnosed and referred by district courts, physicians and psychiatrists from the general public between the ages of 16 and 63 with a mean age of 31 years having a range of 47 years, indicating a positively skewed age distribution. Their Shipley IQ findings were in the middle Average 100 range to high Superior 128 with a mean level within the Bright-Normal 117. Their Shipley Cognitive Quotient, CQ i.e. thought disturbance/impairment test scores were a low of 69 or profound impairment, a high of 87 or slight impairment, with a mean test score of 77 or moderate impairment. The range of this set of variable test scores is 18 points. Brain dysfunctioning or injury was ruled out as designated by intact Bender Gestalt test results. Their educational levels ranged from high school students with diplomas to those who earned bachelor and master’s degrees, while their occupations reflected skilled and professional positions.

Their multi-axial intake cluster of common problems, complaints or symptoms and psychogenic psychiatric diagnosis were as follows:

I. reported intake problems:  alcohol/drug abuse, rage/hostility, suicidal ideation, rejection, compulsions, self-consciousness/withdrawal, passivity, separation/divorce, dependency, poor-judgment, depression, failure, impulsivity, alienation, physical/sexual abuse, anti-social behaviors, daytime and nighttime dreams of suicide, homicide, “pornographic” sex and a terrorizing hell.
II. complaints/symptoms:  poor attention and concentration, confusion and disorganization of thoughts, worthlessness, insecurity, aggression/hostility, indecisiveness, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, uselessness, guilt/judgmental, shame, blame, bland/flat affect, suspiciousness, uselessness, inferiority, helpfulness and inadequacy, obsessions/preoccupations,
III. psychogenic psychiatric diagnosis:  schizophrenia, affective adjustment reaction/bipolar depression, mixed-neurotic, psychoneurotic and character/personality disorder.
IV. Patients’ mental/emotional conditions were biogenetic/medically unrelated.


ASSESSMENT: All patients were given a pretest and a post test for both covert and overt degrees of self-esteem to determine whether they had sociogenic Type-A or Type-B self-esteem, a Shipley IQ/CQ test for level and range of intellectual functioning, House-Tree-Person projective personality test and a Bender Gestalt Visual-Motor test for brain/organic functioning.

THERAPY: These patients received 60 hours of individual, relationship outpatient private practice psychoanalytic/Rogerian/Behavioral-oriented psychotherapy with this writer, combined with their trained and monitored use of sociogenic Type-B degree self-esteem copyrighted self-published home study materials consisting of three 45-minute fractionalized audio hypnosis tapes treating the cognitive, affective and behavioral growth areas of the self-evaluative mechanism on the unconscious level, a 79 page monthly self-testing and progress chart book, 128 page daily study manual and 89 page relationship skills workbook which they studied and filled-out between their weekly one-hour sessions.


Hypothesis tested were:

I. The patients’ post test scores for both covert and overt levels of sociogenic Type-B degree self-esteem would be significantly higher than their intake pretest treatment scores
II. That as covert and overt levels of sociogenic Type-A degree self-esteem decreased, there would be a corresponding increase both covert and overt Type-B degree self-esteem producing an elimination of intake psychogenic psychiatric symptomology.
III. That as both sociogenic covert and overt Type-B degree self-esteem increased, patients would experience a happier, more successful and productive/prosperous, interpersonal and social loving life.


As profoundly demonstrated by Table I., the mean test scores for this study were: covert state of sociogenic Type-A degree conditional self-esteem pretest, -35.76 and covert state of sociogenic Type-B degree unconditional self-esteem post test 59.12, yielding (t=4.75, df=24, p<.0001); overt state of sociogenic Type-A degree conditional self-esteem pretest, 34 and overt state sociogenic Type-B degree unconditional self-esteem post test, 129.88, yielding (t=97.84, df=24, p<.0001).  These dramatic numbers suggest that the most important life-giving value-judgment these patients made was the value, worth and importance they placed on the self or their self-esteem.

TABLE I . Pre and Post Test Measures of Central Value and Variability of Patients Covert and Overt Degree of Sociogenic Self-Esteem


Statistical pre and post hypothesis testing were used in this study to assess the probability that observed frequencies within covert and overt self-esteem categories significantly different from what is expected under the null hypothesis as simply listed and described below.

I. This study identified and defined by direct treatment observation a common denominator associated with the different psychogenic psychiatric diagnostic disorders as high levels of both covert and overt sociogenic Type-A degree self-esteem, i.e. conditional human worth, acceptance, belongingness, usefulness and adequacy.
II. That direct, immediate prescriptive treatment of the core multiple-growth areas of sociogenic Type-A self-esteem eliminated intake symptoms associated with the various psychogenic psychiatric diagnostic disorders by increasing life-enhancing covert and overt levels of sociogenic Type-B degree of self-esteem.
III. That the major established relevant body of psychotherapy, psychopathology and personality/learning theories have as a common denominator the identified and defined core multiple-growth areas of self-esteem as depicted in Figure I.
IV. That core degree of self-esteem whether sociogenic Type-A or Type-B acts as a master personality construct or conditional or unconditional direction setter which decides one’s choices in determining management and prediction of human behavior.
V. That these findings confirm and suggest both covert and overt core levels of sociogenic Type-B degree self-esteem as a single, unitary construct for the treatment of psychogenic psychiatric diagnostic disorders whether one is receiving individual, marriage, family or group therapy.
VI. That sociogenic Type-B degree self-esteem inoculation is essentially what every person needs most, i.e. unconditional human worth, acceptance, belongingness, usefulness and adequacy which, in turn, acts as a direction setter and produces a happy, successful and productive/prosperous, loving life.


Self-esteem term and opinion is far more discussed than any clinical and/or cross validated empirical findings are presented and understood.  Should there be more of the later and less of the former, self-esteem’s profound role in human behavior would be both insightfully understood and validated.  Self-esteem is not to be confused with narcissism.  Thus, for the first time in the clinical history and empirical research of the self-evaluative mechanism, the following law is formulated and proposed.

PROPOSED LAW:  The self-evaluative mechanism is composed of a state of awareness with degrees of both overt and covert self-esteem.  Consequently, as Figure No. 2 describes, the amount of stress which the self-evaluative mechanism can tolerate is in direct proportion to the unconscious components and social forces acting upon it.  Levels of stress are measured by testing the strength of both covert and overt degrees of self-esteem. Increased stress beyond the structural limit of both its state of awareness and degrees of covert and overt self-esteem will change the function of the self-evaluative mechanism which can be healthy/desirable or unhealthy/undesirable but both constant and permeable as suggested by this study’s findings.



This longitudinal mental health counseling/psychotherapeutic study suggests if we choose to learn and put into action the above transforming traits of Type-B Self-Esteem, individuals, our families, nation and our world at large can be more rational, accepting and loving as expressed in the below constructs.

A.  If there is equal human worth/importance, acceptance, a sense of belongingness, usefulness and adequacy in our personhood, there will be equal human worth/importance, truth, honesty and justice in our individual character.

B.  If there is equal human worth/importance, truth, honesty and justice in our character, there will be insightful judgment/rational choices, acceptance and harmony in our families.

C.  If there is insightful judgment/rational choices, acceptance, honesty and harmony in our families, there will be kindness/genuine respect, justice and a loving order in our nation.

D.  If there is kindness/genuine respect, and a loving order of acceptance in our nation, there will be equal worth, dignity, honor, freedom, peace and beauty in a just and rational world, i.e., every person is worth genuine consideration and respect.


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