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Blank Slate


Updated June 18, 2014


In psychology, the term “blank slate” actually has two meanings. The first refers to a belief that at birth, all humans are born with the ability to become literally anything or anyone. This belief downplays the effects of genetics and biology on the development of the human personality. Instead, we are seen as the product of our upbringing and experiences.

The second definition of “blank slate” refers to a technique that was once used heavily in psychoanalysis and is still employed by some therapists today. When using this technique, the therapist is careful to avoid revealing any personal information about himself. Instead, the therapist becomes a “blank slate” onto which the client can project his or her own needs, desires and beliefs.

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