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Burrow, T. (1935). Behavior Mechanisms and Their Phylo-Pathology. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(2):169-181.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(2):169-181

Behavior Mechanisms and Their Phylo-Pathology

Trigant Burrow, M.D., Ph.D.

Among students of individual behavior it has long been the accepted tenet that an understanding of abnormal processes is especially helpful in throwing light on normal behavior-reactions. While this method has proved to possess undoubted value, in recent years I have been led to adopt a principle that has completely altered for me this accepted procedure. Instead, my investigations have centered upon normal processes of behavior with a view to an understanding of their abnormal or deviate expressions.

The outstanding normal behavior common to ourselves as psycho-pathologists is the behavior with which we are wont to approach abnormal behavior-expressions. I have in mind the common normal behavior of applying psychic measures in our approach to abnormal behavior-manifestations. If from the background of bionomics or a relational physiology we analyze this psychic attitude of medicine toward abnormal behavior-processes, we find that the behavior of the physician toward the processes before him is restricted to his projective, exteroceptive zone of reactions; that in his relation to the behavior expressed by the patient the behavior of the physician is primarily a function of the symbolic, ideational sphere of his organism.

With a view to a more comprehensive approach to the organism's reactions than is permitted through man's habitual projective approach to them, it has been my effort to include in the total situation my own reaction as a total organism as from hour to hour various stimuli would arise in the daily living contact of my associates and myself with normal and neurotic individuals.

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