Constructing the sense of self in psychosis using the amniotic therapy: A single case study

Journal title SETTING
Author/s Maurizio Peciccia, Marianna Ambrosecchia, Livia Buratta, Alessandro Germani, Claudia Mazzeschi, Vittorio Gallese
Publishing Year 2024 Issue 2023/46
Language Italian Pages 31 P. 5-35 File size 413 KB
DOI 10.3280/SET2023-046001
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Some people diagnosed with schizophrenia have an altered sense of self. From a psychodynamic perspective, it has been hypothesised that they have disturbances in the integration of self/other identification and differentiation processes. From a neuroscientific point of view, some patients diagnosed with schizophrenia show dysfunction of the neural correlates of both the representation of the bodily self differentiated from the other and the self united with the other. The scientific literature highlights the importance of affective sensorimotor interactions during early childhood between caregiver and infant in the process of developing the self and protecting its boundaries. In particular, studies have been carried out on affiliative touch, which acts at different levels, providing an anti-stress function, defining the boundaries between self and other, promoting a sense of social belonging, facilitating embodiment processes and balancing the mirror system in the process of differentiation and identification between self and other. The introduction of cutaneous interactions based on affiliative touch therefore seems relevant to the psychotherapy of psychosis, as suggested by some of the first pioneers of the psychoanalytic approach to psychosis. On this theoretical basis we have developed Amniotic Therapy, a method based on affiliative touch. Amniotic Therapy reproduces the affective-tactile parent-infant interactions of early infancy and aims to integrate the processes of differentiation and identification. In this article we present the results of a three-year study of a patient with psychosis who was involved in an experimental study of Amniotic Therapy. The results showed an increase in the patient’s interoception and global functioning, as well as a significant decrease in psychotic positive symptoms. This suggests that Amniotic Therapy contributes to increasing the protective strength of the patient’s self boundaries and the integration of identification/differentiation processes.

Keywords: psychosis, bodily self, affiliative touch, interoception, mirror system, amniotic therapy

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Maurizio Peciccia, Marianna Ambrosecchia, Livia Buratta, Alessandro Germani, Claudia Mazzeschi, Vittorio Gallese, Costruzione del senso di sé nella psicosi: studio di un caso singolo in "SETTING" 46/2023, pp 5-35, DOI: 10.3280/SET2023-046001