BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-006683
  • Findings that shed new light on the possible pathogenesis of a disease or an adverse effect

The process of recovery of a schizoaffectively disordered mind: a psychoanalytic theory of the functional psychoses, the psychodynamic pentapointed cognitive construct theory

  1. Gillian Ruth May Steggles
  1. Department of Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gillian Ruth May Steggles, gill.steggles{at}

A schizoaffectively disordered young woman made a small study of her mind while she was in psychoanalytic psychotherapy so that she might understand herself better. She worked closely with her psychoanalyst, and with the researcher who wrote up her case. She had a very difficult time for 30 years, but by the end of that time emerged completely recovered and with a great zest for life. This paper provides rare positive/constructive data about the processes involved in a case of schizoaffective disorder that involved manic as well as depressive and schizophrenic symptoms, and also the patient's stages of recovery. It demonstrates how psychiatric and psychoanalytic principles are inextricably linked together both in understanding this patient's ordeals and in her successful treatment, and suggests the clinical potential for theoretical and practical engagement between psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

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