Conversion Disorder: 6

Conversion disorder is said to be a reaction to one or more stressful events.  One of the doctors said that in all of the Le Roy cases she has seen, there have been such occurrences.  All of the girls had something stressful (not necessarily the same in each case) that set them off.  Moreover, the doctor also relates that there is usually a “patient zero” or “index case” whose behavior comes to be “unconsciously mimicked.” (I had originally opined that there need not be.)

The hypothesis we’re working with here is that conversion disorder is a form of what a schizoanalyst would call “subjectification.”  The schizoanalyst has thus transformed the significance of the term “conversion disorder.”  By it, she no longer refers to the conversion of “psychological stress” into “physical symptoms.”  By it, she means the conversion of the body into a particular kind of organism, the conversion of the concrete individual into a particular form of concrete subject.

Subjectification is said to proceed in a linear, segmented fashion out of a “point.”  In the case of conversion disorder, there does indeed appear to be such a point of subjectification.  But it is twofold.  On one side there needs to be an event or constellation of events that have put extraordinary stress upon the affected individual(s).  On the other side there needs to be an index case that serves as the passionate double of the individual(s). The passionate double helps draw the subject out of the individual, the organism out of the body.

DG state that the point of subjectification involves a double betrayal, a double turning away.  The individual feels something turn away from her, and in turning away from it, she is introduced into the linear procedure of subjectification.  But if the point of subjectification in conversion disorder is itself twofold, then the double betrayal is itself doubled!  (God, I love complifications…)  That is, we need to consider two sets of betrayals.  One set includes the individual and the stressful event or events that has set her off.  The other set includes the individual and the index case. Perhaps I should say something perfunctory about each of these sets in turn…

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