New technologies are highly interactive. They promote imaginative involvement and allow the experience of different self-states, such as those involving withdrawal or “psychic retreat”. According to Steiner, psychic retreats are areas of the mind populated by imagination and ideas which are poorly aligned with reality. Psychic retreats are not necessarily pathological in themselves – for instance, they can be used positively for counteracting anxiety or enhancing creativeness. However, with technological addiction there is a misuse of psychic retreat: here the total absorption with computer applications serves to hide painful or unbearable states of mind, and to protect the patient from overwhelming feelings through segregating self-states with a disconnection in their representations. Therefore, in clinical work with individuals suffering from technological addic- tion exploring the use of psychic retreats can serve as an aid to both diagnosis and treatment. Where the dysfunctional use of new technologies constitutes a temporary withdrawal from a specific painful event, this can have the function of protecting the individual from inner conflict; in the most serious cases however, technological addiction is grounded in more chronic and pathological dissociative mechanisms, and serves to prevent the mind from reactivating traumatic states connected to childhood experience of emotional neglect or abuse. While it is likely that the first condition can be positively handled with appropriate identification and treatment, the latter is much more difficult to deal with, particularly where the addictive behavior hides the weakness of the self, and psychic retreats are pervasively used to protect the patient from mental breakdown.

Psychic retreats or psychic pits? Unbearable states of mind and technological addiction

SCHIMMENTI, ADRIANO;
2010

Abstract

New technologies are highly interactive. They promote imaginative involvement and allow the experience of different self-states, such as those involving withdrawal or “psychic retreat”. According to Steiner, psychic retreats are areas of the mind populated by imagination and ideas which are poorly aligned with reality. Psychic retreats are not necessarily pathological in themselves – for instance, they can be used positively for counteracting anxiety or enhancing creativeness. However, with technological addiction there is a misuse of psychic retreat: here the total absorption with computer applications serves to hide painful or unbearable states of mind, and to protect the patient from overwhelming feelings through segregating self-states with a disconnection in their representations. Therefore, in clinical work with individuals suffering from technological addic- tion exploring the use of psychic retreats can serve as an aid to both diagnosis and treatment. Where the dysfunctional use of new technologies constitutes a temporary withdrawal from a specific painful event, this can have the function of protecting the individual from inner conflict; in the most serious cases however, technological addiction is grounded in more chronic and pathological dissociative mechanisms, and serves to prevent the mind from reactivating traumatic states connected to childhood experience of emotional neglect or abuse. While it is likely that the first condition can be positively handled with appropriate identification and treatment, the latter is much more difficult to deal with, particularly where the addictive behavior hides the weakness of the self, and psychic retreats are pervasively used to protect the patient from mental breakdown.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/9854
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