Psychological And Psychoanalytical Definitions Of Psychosis

1494 words - 6 pages

Psychoanalytical/psychological definitions of psychosis.

Psychosis is defined as a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality. Although this definition is generally accepted by both psychoanalysts and psychologists/psychiatrists alike, the way in which psychosis is diagnosed and treated differs dramatically. Psychoanalysis is very focussed on the development of psychosis and in moulding a persons life to accommodate for the symptoms of each individual patient. Psychiatry looks at psychosis more systematically diagnosing a disorder and then treating this disorder in the same way for every patient. Psychosis is a ...view middle of the document...

Successful traversal of the Oedipus complex involves a weakening of the mothers power allowing the child to develop a basic trust or acceptance in the symbolic law. The symbolic law is the law of interrelationships which is assumed through language. In order for the child to develop this trust, they must realise that there is more to life outside of the relationship with the mother. If this trust is not developed then the child is liable to form a psychotic structure. In psychoanalysis a person who is psychotic is considered outside of discourse – language in action. That is someone who doesn't understand the way people communicate or human discourse. A psychotic person will have a literal understanding of words, for them meaning is fixed. They can be unable to understand sarcasm, metaphors or irony. An example of the literal meaning that words take is a line from Buechner's 'Lenz'; “nur war es ihm manchmal unangenehm, dass er nicht auf dem Kopf gehn konnte.” (s79,line 9-11) This literally means that it was annoying to him that he could not walk on his head.

When treating a patient in psychoanalysis the first step will always be to establish whether this person is psychotic or neurotic as this will dictate largely how they are treated. A key difference in the treatement of psychotics as opposed to neurotics is that confronting a psychotic could trigger an episode. Psychotics are unable to admit that anything is their fault, blame is attributed exclusively outside the self. A clear indicator of psychosis is the absence of doubt. The patient will convince themselves of things that they then believe completely true regardless of how ridiculous they are. If they believe that the CIA is following them then there is no doubt for them that this is true. Nothing will convince them otherwise. Another indicator is the way in which they speak. As mentioned previously they take things very literally and their speech is often disorganised and random.

Other than direct confrontation there are a few things that can trigger a psychotic episode. A trigger is something that leads to a loss of the structure that holds them in place and created a hole in meaning that they cannot deal with. Psychosis is often triggered when the person is fully enmeshed in a dual relation with another person and a third – authoritative – figure threatens the equilibrium. For example the relation between a person and a job is threatened by the boss – authority figure – firing them. This is taking away that structure that holds them in place. A trigger is an unassimilable invasion of their fragile world. When a psychotic break is triggered it can manifest in several different ways. Delusions are a common symptom of psychosis. Psychoanalysis believes that delusions can be a good thing as they are created by the psychotic to explain the hole in meaning that was created by the trigger. A more radical option would be for the person to strike out violently. Another manifestation is...

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