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Feher, L. (1973). Double-mind Theory. Am. J. Psychoanal., 33(2):210-213.

(1973). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 33(2):210-213

Double-mind Theory

Leslie Feher, M.A.

THE following is a theoretical investigation into, as yet, undeveloped possibility. It is based upon prior theory and research. It is not meant to be dogmatic or predictive but simply to pose possible lines of thought, theory, and future areas of pioneer investigation. The primary hypothesis is developed from Gregory Bateson's paper, “Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia” wherein he states that the child may receive a ‘double-bind’; that is, double messages from the parent that are contradictory in nature and imply opposite forms of action. This confuses the child so that he becomes angry or passive and ineffectual. An example taken from the article refers to a schizophrenic patient who was visited by his mother. He ran to her with open arms but was only greeted by a tense body pushing him away. Confused, he withdrew. The mother responded, “What's the matter, don't you love me any more?” Whether he embraced her or not he received a reprimand. He was told to love her and not to love her simultaneously. One message was verbal and the second non-verbal.

This same process can now be generalized and explained in terms of physiology and results in this “double-mind” theory.

In this paper, I will attempt the following:

(1)  Discuss present experimental research.

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