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June 1937

HEALTH AS A PSYCHIC EXPERIENCE

Author Affiliations

Clinical Director; Research Professor in Psychiatry, the New York University College of Medicine NEW YORK

From the Psychiatric Division of the Bellevue Hospital, and the Department of Psychiatry of the New York University College of Medicine.

Arch NeurPsych. 1937;37(6):1322-1337. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1937.02260180102007
Abstract

One generally takes it for granted that the person who has no disease should feel healthy and that the person with an organic lesion or dysfunction should feel sick. One is inclined to consider the experience of one's health as an immediate reflection of the physiologic or the pathophysiologic state of the body. A person who has lost one leg and walks with a prosthesis or with crutches is not sick. Whenever there is a stabilized defect, either in form or in function, the organism adapts itself psychologically, as well as physiologically. The feeling of health seems to be the expression of a newly won stabilization in the psychophysiologic organism.

Lower organisms, in which the possibilities of regeneration are almost unlimited, react to a considerable loss in the material of the body by melting the remaining material into the diminutive picture of the intact organism, even without food. When the

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