יום רביעי, 9 בפברואר 2011

The obsessive compulsive style (Shapiro, 1965)


In his chapter "obsessive compulsive style," David Shapiro (1965) describes the characteristics of obsessive compulsive (OC) people, beginning with the rigidity of thought which is clinically observed with compulsive characters. Shapiro depicts this characteristic as limited, very focused attention; an unwillingness to divert from an interest or a position or listen to other parties in conversation.

            Shapiro then depicts a second major characteristic as a mode of action. He refers to OC people as work prone, work invested, workaholics – not necessarily over-productive, but treating every life situation as a productive process that requires effort on their side – even enjoyment. Effort is described as mental effort of preoccupation about an issue, not necessarily making evident pragmatic efforts towards it. Shapiro connects this to a damaged sense of autonomy, attuned to a sense of should over a sense of will, with demanding impulses that threaten the cores of intent and control; then awareness becomes their struggle, and all human behavior becomes an issue to preoccupy with – an effort. Their struggle is to keep from madness.

            If a keyhole attention and a troubled soul aren’t enough, Shapiro adds a loss of the sense of reality to the mental dynamics of the obsessive compulsive people. The authentic position is replaced with a logical perspective. The logical perspective is maintained by the narrowing attention, and its maintenance is an effort. Spontaneous right and wrong are missing from their judgment and they mediate their experience with rational criticism instead.

            In view of DSM-IV-TR's criteria list for OCD and OCPD, I believe Shapiro is describing the dynamics of an obsessive compulsive personality disorder. His emphasis is on obsessions, and less on the very evident compulsions and rituals expected in an OCD by the manual. Furthermore, Shapiro's everyday register and empathic description of psyche dynamics may tell us that this phenomenon is on the clinical doorstep, not yet inside the madhouse.

It is said that Cameron Diaz suffers from OCD!
Jessica Alba too.


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