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(p. 67) Psycho-Somatic Illness in Its Positive and Negative Aspects 

(p. 67) Psycho-Somatic Illness in Its Positive and Negative Aspects
(p. 67) Psycho-Somatic Illness in Its Positive and Negative Aspects

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 10 July 2020

In this paper, Winnicott discusses psycho-somatic illness as the persistence of a split in the patient’s ego-organisation, or of multiple dissociations within it, that constitutes the true illness. Winnicott writes that in health there is a tendency towards psycho-somatic integration, which is a part of the forward movement in the developmental process. Psycho-somatic integration is an achievement of the ‘indwelling’ of the psyche in the soma, to be followed by the enjoyment of a psycho-somatic unity in experience. Winnicott concludes that psycho-somatic illness, like the antisocial tendency, has a hopeful aspect and that the patient may be in touch with the possibility of psychosomatic unity (or ‘personalisation’) and dependence, even though his or her clinical condition actively illustrates the opposite of this through splitting, dissociations, a persistent attempt to split medical provision and through omnipotent self-caretaking.

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