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Depression, Intercorporeality, and Interaffectivity

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According to current opinion in western psychopathology, depression is regarded as a disorder of mood and affect on the one hand, and as a distortion of cognition on the other. Disturbances of bodily experience and of social relations are regarded as secondary to the primarily 'inner'and individual disorder. However, quite different concepts can be found in cultures whose members do not experience themselves as much as separate individuals but rather as parts of social communities. Disorders of mood or well-being are then conceived less as intra-psychic, but rather as bodily, interpersonal, or atmospheric processes. On this background, the paper describes depression as a disorder of intercorporeality and interaffectivity. After developing these phenomenological concepts, it analyses depression as a 'detunement' of the resonant body that mediates our participation in a shared affective space. Instead of expressing the self, the body is turned into a barrier to all impulses directed to the environment. This impairs particularly the patient's interaction with others, resulting in a general sense of detachment, separation, or even segregation. Moreover, the restriction of the lived body also corresponds to the triggering situations of depression, namely experiences of a disruption of social bonds. Thus, intercorporeality and interaffectivity are presented as crucial dimensions for an ecological and non-reductionist view of depression.

Keywords: Depression; delusion; interaffectivity; intercorporeality; lived body

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: 2013-01-01

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