The carer persona: Masking individual identities

Timothy R. Broady


According to Jungian theory, ‘persona’ is a concept reflecting a compromise between the individual and society. In mediating between a person’s subjective inner world and the external social world, the persona represents a generalised idea of the self which builds up from experiences of interacting with society. Such reflections of self-identity can therefore develop across multiple domains of a person’s life, culminating in understandings of self in a variety of specific roles. The existence of multiple personas can be clearly demonstrated in the context of people providing unpaid care for a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, or who is frail. Carers are likely to possess multiple roles as an individual, existing across various social and personal domains. This paper argues that in caring for loved one, a compromise takes place between individual selves and the social caring role. That is, the ‘carer persona’ can mask a carer’s individual identities and their associated needs. The potential complexity of caring roles is therefore explored, with an emphasis on acknowledging the personal needs and identities of carers beyond their caring roles. This acknowledgment has implications for service delivery and policy development regarding carers and those for whom they care.


persona; carers; identity; recognition; support

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