Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Steven Tuber

Committee Members

Lissa Weinstein

Benjamin Harris

Diana Puñales Morejon

John Mathews

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Theory and Philosophy


OCD, doubting, object-relations, judgment, certainty, internalization


The purpose of this study is to highlight and explicate the particular structural and intrapsychic features of the self as it presents within OCD compulsive doubting, and more broadly within OCD compulsion. Specifically, the study is situated within the theoretical framework of psychodynamic theory and object-relations theory, and aims to elucidate central object-relational dynamics within OCD doubting. In order to do so, the study begins with a phenomenological overview of the nature and role of doubting within OCD more broadly, and then proceeds to suggest a broader philosophical and phenomenological framework through which to consider the interplay between both the cognitive as well as affective components required to make judgments. The development of this framework, drawn from Beiner’s (1983) rendering of Kantian models of judgment, allows for a formulation of compulsive doubting linked to a sense of dis-unity and fracture within the self. This in turn allows for a consideration of the structural components of the self, and specifically, an exploration of how the self comes to integrate the demands and functions of external objects into a coherent and contiguous subjective experience. The study makes use of Schafer’s (1968/1990) expositions of the processes of internalization, including identification and introjection, which suggest different permutations of self-alien and self-contiguous phenomena within the self, and which are then linked to different phenomena within OCD doubting and OCD more generally. Following Schafer, the study then considers the developmental, phenomenological, and structural frameworks of Mead, Vygotsky, and Winnicott, and further links OCD phenomena to these frameworks. Lastly, the study concludes with a consideration of implications for treatment.

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