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Geroe, G. (1944). Psychogenic Disorders and the Civilization of the Middle Ages: A. Gallinek. Amer. J. of Psychiatry, XCIX, 1942, pp. 42–54.. Psychoanal Q., 13:394.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychogenic Disorders and the Civilization of the Middle Ages: A. Gallinek. Amer. J. of Psychiatry, XCIX, 1942, pp. 42–54.

(1944). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 13:394

Psychogenic Disorders and the Civilization of the Middle Ages: A. Gallinek. Amer. J. of Psychiatry, XCIX, 1942, pp. 42–54.

George Geroe

The symptomatology of hysteria varies with different times and different social environments. Medieval hysteria must be investigated in relation to its cultural background. The medieval world is characterized by Gallinek as a world of marked polarity which resulted in great tension. It was dominated by the polarities of heaven and hell, life and death, evil and good, soul and body, salvation and damnation. Through certain techniques the religious personality tried to reach a state of ecstasy in which hallucinatory phenomena as well as pathological changes of the sensory-motor system occurred. The author calls these techniques 'hysterization'. In order to enter into ecstatic states a radical withdrawal from reality had to be accomplished. A particularly strong masochism seems to have been one of the outstanding features of all medieval religious personalities. The suppressed libidinal urges and fantasies became projected into the outer world. 'In the highest states of ecstasy, Christ, the bridegroom, appeared to the nun, the Virgin Mary to the monk, and thus the phantoms of hell are driven away.' The reward for all these sufferings of hard asceticism seems to have been the feeling of a mystic union with Christ.

Religious personalities with hysterical traits and schizothymic introverted personalities made their impression on the era of the Middle Ages. Neither in modern times nor in antique civilization would such personalities have been considered as great representatives of their time.

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Article Citation

Geroe, G. (1944). Psychogenic Disorders and the Civilization of the Middle Ages. Psychoanal. Q., 13:394

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