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What are the five layers of adult personality?

Fritz Perls viewed the unfolding of adult personality as the peeling of an onion. The layers of adult personality according to him are phony, phobic, impasse, implosive, and explosive.

Phony layer

As the name suggests, the phony layer is a construct built by others that we live in. we live up to other’s beliefs, standards, and understandings of the world and of us, thus straying far away from self actualisation. This layer of our personality is stereotypical and inauthentic.

Phobic layer

The phobic layer is made up of our immature beliefs about being rejected by society or our loved ones for leading an authentic life. This is the layer of our personality that prefers to run away from hurt and dissatisfaction about ourselves, which thus keeps us away from seeing our true selves.

Impasse layer

The impasse is a point where we realise that we are at a dead end, that there is no way forward, but we do not show it to the world. Instead, we continue to manipulate our surroundings which include the people in it as part of our game. We tend to give up our power at this stage.

Implosive layer

This is the layer where we have acknowledged the deadness of parts of our ‘self’. We develop a rigid system that keeps us going and makes us feel safe, but habitual parts of our ‘self’ are dead. We fully experience this deadness.

Explosive layer

This is the layer where we let go of our phony layers and fully embrace joy, sadness, and the maturity that comes along with everything. This is the part where we let go of our inauthentic self and accept a personality that is raw, real, and more human.

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