True Self, False Self, Virtual Self: Psychoanalytic Reflection on Digital Depersonalization

January 27, 2018, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Presented by Elena Bezzubova, PhD

The digital world has become an attribute of life, including the life of our patients as well as ourselves. The digital component is often an explicit and even more often implicit factor of emotional and psychological disturbances in our patients. This course explores some points of intersection of the digital and the psychoanalytical, focusing on the Self and its relationship with others and world. Social networks, computer games, sites, blogs, etc. provide endless opportunities to create new virtual identities acting in new virtual worlds. Examining the dialectics of reality, fantasy and virtuality, the course outlines the idea of a digitally-dependent virtual self in the context of the classic dichotomy of true self and false self. Analyzing clinical vignettes of the conflicts between reality and virtuality, the course outlines the notion of “digital depersonalization” as a vertical split between authentic and virtual self. The course examines the idea of “digital detox” as a step toward a digitally independent and truly authentic self.

Learning Objectives 

As a result of attending this course, participants should be able to:

  • Recognize the clinically meaningful elements of the impact of the digital revolution on the theory and practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Identify the ideas of virtual self and digital depersonalization as notions instrumental for understanding patients with digitally-dependent identity
  • Apply ideas of virtual self, digital depersonalization and digital detox in their clinical practice

Elena Bezzubova, PhD, maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis in Newport Beach. She is a Senior Faculty at the NCP and UCI. She presented her research on virtual reality and depersonalization at the annual conference, Toward the Science of Consciousness, in June 2017.

Pricing & CE Credits 

  • $55 Pre-registration, $65 at the door, $30 Student Rate
  • 3 CE Credits


IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of these CME/CE programs have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for the maximum number of 3 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required for psychologists to receive credit; partial credit may not be awarded based on APA guidelines. For the psychologists’ records, certificates of attendance are provided at the completion of the course.  


The New Center for Psychoanalysis is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency. 

REGISTERED NURSES: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is an accredited provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider #CEP1112). Registered Nurses may claim only the actual number of hours spent in the educational activity for credit.