Psychosomatics Of Skin Diseases And Representation Of Mental Space

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading researcher, Laboratory of psychology of abilities and mental resources named after V.N. Druzhinin
Affiliation: Federal State-financed Establishment of Science, Institute of Psychology RAS
Address: Moscow, Moscow, Yaroslavskaya str., 13, Russia
Journal namePsikhologicheskii zhurnal
EditionVolume 43 Issue 4

The concept of mental space and the role of the skin in differentiating its boundaries during ontogenesis are considered. Skin diseases (atopic dermatitis and psoriasis) are considered as psychosomatic manifestations of separation trauma, which correlate with two tendencies – “to fusion” and “to encapsulate”, respectively. The study involved 72 women aged 20–40 years, (30 healthy, 17 suffering from psoriasis and 25 atopic dermatitis). Using the “Spatial Self Questionnaire” technique, three types of spatial Ego boundaries are determined: bodily, social and symbolic. It is proved that different experimental groups have a different profile of representations of the boundaries of the Ego compared to the control group. The body boundary of the Ego in the group “atopic dermatitis” is interpreted as super-permeable, and in the group “psoriasis” — as super-nonpermeable. In the “atopic dermatitis” group, the influence of separation trauma manifests itself in confusion when differentiating oneself from others (social boundaries of the Ego), and in the “psoriasis” group — in difficulties when correlating oneself with the outside world (symbolic boundary of the Ego).

Keywordspsychosomatic skin diseases (atopic dermatitis / psoriasis), symbiosis, separation trauma, mental space, boundaries of Ego, tendency to fusion/encapsulation
Publication date15.09.2022
Number of characters31945
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