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Osher, S. (1960). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXIII, 1959: Some Biological Considerations on the Problem of Mental Illness. Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Pp. 41-51.. Psychoanal Q., 29:138-139.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXIII, 1959: Some Biological Considerations on the Problem of Mental Illness. Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Pp. 41-51.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:138-139

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXIII, 1959: Some Biological Considerations on the Problem of Mental Illness. Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Pp. 41-51.

Stanley Osher

Mental illness is a systemic disease and the mental apparatus can be disturbed to varying degrees in numerous areas. In contrast to the classical stimulusresponse

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model of behavior, von Bertalanffy emphasizes the living organism as an active system rather than a resting one. The organism, besides maintaining equilibrium and gratifying needs, is creative.

Man is unique in using not only biological and physiological, but also symbolic, processes. Experiences in World War II indicate that it was not biological stress but stress at the symbolic level that led to an increase in mental disorders. Absence of stimulation as well as stress is pathogenic, as indicated by psychosis in an isolation chamber and prisoners' psychoses. In schizophrenia there is deterioration, but also an attempt at reconstruction. The basic symptoms of schizophrenia, a human disease, are dependent on symbolic activity. Considering mental illness as a unitary system, the concept of activity of the psychophysical organism and the recognition of the role of symbols offers a framework for new investigations of psychic phenomena.

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Article Citation

Osher, S. (1960). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXIII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:138-139

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