A delicate balance exists between the utilitarian need for a system of diagnoses and the risk of overdefining people and their relationships as "pathological." It was not that long ago that we pathologized homosexuality and described the entity of the "schizophrenogenic
A prime example of this is the rise and fall of the theory of the schizophrenogenic
mother, which purported that the etiology of schizophrenia could be traced to an individual's exposure to a rejecting and overprotective mothering style (Lidz, Fleck, & Cornelison, 1967).
She was "schizophrenogenic
." She delivered conflicting messages of hope and rejection, and her ambivalence drove her child, unable to know what was real, into the paralyzed world of madness.
* Pathologising of maternal ambivalence led to demonisation of mothers--not only of Frieda Fromm-Reichman's 'schizophrenogenic
' variety (1948) but of all mothers for all ills in the child.
For instance, autism once was believed to be caused by "refrigerator mothers," (1) and the concept of the "schizophrenogenic
" parent was used for schizophrenia.
There's evidence now that cannabis has both a cumulative and a schizophrenogenic
Traditional views of the relationships between family members and schizophrenia (for example, schizophrenogenic
mothers and marital schism) hypothesize that family members are causes of the illness; recipients of the service; and obstacles to the ill relative's rehabilitation (Hatfield & Lefley, 1987; Wong, 2006).These views have not been supported empirically and are now superseded by a strengths perspective that conceives family members as sufferers, resource people, and partners in care (for example, family burdens) (Hatfield & Lefley; Wong).
Many family members resist involvement because they fear being blamed by the profession, something that used to happen in the era of the schizophrenogenic
mother or the "refrigerator mothers" of autistic children (Reiss et al., 1995).
I am not suggesting that we return to the world of schizophrenogenic
mothers, but one has only to contrast the tales of women who were sexually abused by their fathers, stepfathers, or other relatives, with the accounts of Kay Redfield Jamison, Tracy Thompson, and other successful professionals who recite their parents' love, patience, and enduring support, to at least wonder whether this may not make a decisive difference.
Together they all exhibited the various signs and symptoms of a schizophrenogenic
Caplan and Hall-McCorquodale (1984) reviewed major clinical journals and found that two thirds of the authors attributed responsibility for a total of 72 different types of psychopathology in children to their mothers and noted they have been called 'neglectful, schizophrenogenic
, narcistic, nonempathic'.
Again, the comparison of the multiple and conflicting demands which their gods made on Greeks to the schizophrenogenic
double-bind of modern psychology (pp.