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Peciccia, M. Benedetti, G. (1996). The Splitting between Separate and Symbiotic States of the Self in the Psychodynamic of Schizophrenia. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 5(1):23-37.

(1996). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 5(1):23-37

The Splitting between Separate and Symbiotic States of the Self in the Psychodynamic of Schizophrenia

Maurizio Peciccia, M.D. and Gaetano Benedetti, M.D.

We hypothesize that, in the structure of the psychotic self, there is a disintegration between the symbiotic and separate states of the self, of which the patient is painfully aware: to use a metaphor, the light in the schizophrenic self is split: at times it is only in wave form, energy (the patient is living in disintegrated symbiosis), at others it is only matter, corpuscular (the patient is living in disintegrated separation); unfortunately, the wave and the particle are unable to produce a unitary phenomenon: the light becomes two entities.

Sometimes we see the psychotic living symbiotically, we feel him to be very close to us, he tells us: “I am the moon, the sun, the universe. I am you”. At other times the patient is in his separate self but, as he is split off from the symbiotic self, his separation is extreme, it is autistic solitude: “nothing exists apart from me: the sun, the moon, the universe, are meaningless shadows which I cannot distinguish…, you are light-years away from me … you are not there”. In both of these extreme situations what seems to be missing is the boundary of separation in the state of symbiosis and the experience of symbiotic duality in the state of separation.

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