The state of non-integration in the early mind
D. Winnicott (1974) stated a difference between a non-integration state of mind and a disintegration one. In the first stage there is no difference between the subject and the object, but a state of fusion and non-differentiation. In the latter there was a differentiation, but the subject regress back in a non-integration state of mind as a defensive manoeuvre in order to survive.
The psychotic clients live in this state of non-integration, and the symptoms that they experience, like hallucinations, voices, detachment from the world, absence of time, belongs to the state of mind of a child of six months old before the process of separation-individuation stated from M. Maheler (1971).
E. Gaddini (1992) in his writings tries to develop the meta-psychological theory in a further way and he stated a difference between imitation (psycho-sensorial area) and introjection (psycho-oral area). In the first one the baby perceives the external world with a modification of his body. The latter one occurs only when a difference is extablished between the subject and the object (usually the mother) and the baby can put inside himself stuffs beacuase there is an internal world separated from an external one.
Moreover D. Winnicott (1971) stated a difference between a male and a female pure elements. In the pure female element there is no space for the libido because there is no differnce between the baby and the mother, the baby is the breast. In the male one, with the intervention of the figure of the father, the baby starts to differentiate himself from his mother. The world is perceived more objectively and the functions of time and memory are in progress.
I think that these differences are important in the comprehension of a non-integrated state of mind in psychotic clients. This is the continuity with a foetus experiences of a limited space through the womb and the placenta, and this state continues to exist after the birth till the psychological born around six – eight months of age. If we have in mind these ideas when we deal with this kind of clients, I think, would be more simple to understand them and to do not be angry with them.
For example, in the community therapy where I work, the symptoms of these clients, like untideness of the room, sleep roughly in the street, do not take care of physical patologies, reflect a non-integrated state of mind due to a disfunctional relationship with the mother at the beginning of their life.
Winnicott D. (1971). Play and Reality, Routledge.
Mahler, S. and Pine, M.M. and F., Bergman, A. (1973). The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant, New York: Basic Books.
Gaddini E. (1992). A psychoanalytic theory of infantile experience, Routledge.