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Stein, L. (1967). Introducing Not-Self. J. Anal. Psychol., 12(2):97-113.

(1967). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 12(2):97-113

Introducing Not-Self

L. Stein

In Recent Times several suggestions and attempts have been made to integrate different, seemingly widely separate disciplines, such as cultural psychology, dynamic psychology (Fordham, 1963), biology (Medawar, 1957, 1960; Platt, 1965), ecology, ethology, evolution, microphysics (Meier, 1935), genetics, immunology (Burnett, 1959, 1962; Burch and Burwell, 1965) as well as different approaches to psychiatric problems (cf. Freeman, et al. 1965, pp. 150 ff.). This applies particularly to the dynamic structure of mental disorders, and psychosomatic illness, the field of which is widening.

In support of the last contention it may be recalled that very recently Engel (1966, pp. 1-12) interviewed 200 patients from non-psychiatric departments without prior knowledge of the diagnosis. He found that most of them had fallen ill at a time when circumstances of life induced a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. This feeling was correlated with biological defence. The latter motif provides the guiding line for this paper.

A vivid dream has urged me to carry my earlier purely theoretical investigations (Stein, 1953, 1958, 1966) further with a view to bridging the gulf between the biological and psychological realms and to paying more than lip service to the aim of establishing a unity that is superordinated to those of the body and of the mind.

My inquiries have, in the main, led to the following four ideas:

1.   An assumption regarding psychosomatic unity, that is more in keeping with present-day biological and philosophical knowledge.

2.   A more detailed presentation of the structure of the self.

3.   A theory of self-destruction, as an alternative to that of inverted aggression.

4.   The rationale of therapeutic procedures based on infantile mechanisms.

These preliminary considerations serve, in the first place, heuristic purposes. They are intended to show a principle which may permit us to comprehend all the observed phenomena as manifestations of one fundamental unit.

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