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Rowe, C.E., Jr. (2014). Disorders as Undifferentiated Selfobject Formations: Treatment of a Multidisordered Patient. Psychoanal. Rev., 101(3):341-366.

(2014). Psychoanalytic Review, 101(3):341-366

Disorders as Undifferentiated Selfobject Formations: Treatment of a Multidisordered Patient

Crayton E. Rowe, Jr., M.W., B.C.D.

This paper offers a new understanding of disorders as undifferentiated selfobject formations. A treatment example of a multiple-disordered patient is presented to illustrate how disorders diminished as a result of this understanding.

This paper highlights the developmental importance of the undifferentiated selfobject and suggests that early interruptions of this discovery experience that take place during the infant's positive moments of freedom and enthusiasm are traumatic. If they go beyond the tolerance of the infant, they can be imprinted as unconscious core traumatic experiences. They remain as implicit memories that can act as warnings of repetitions of the trauma that occurred at the time of freedom and enthusiasm in the act of discovering. It can be suggested that the threat of repetitions of the traumatic loss is associated with these positive moments of discovery. This threat directs the needed self-sustaining undifferentiated selfobject discovery experience away from the positive, thereby leaving the posttraumatic effects of the loss as the focus of discovery. This focus leads to destructive preoccupations and obsessions that are considered disorders such as depression, suicidal thinking, self-mutilation, and eating disorders.

Once patients understand the importance of the undifferentiated selfobject discovery need, the delinking of the undifferentiated self-object from the negative preoccupations takes place. As a result, disorders diminish, and patients begin to consider positive possibilities for their lives.

This paper suggests that early interferences in the development of the undifferentiated selfobject lead to the formation of disorders. A treatment of a multidisordered patient is presented to illustrate how this understanding was central to the diminishing of the disorders.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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