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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology
Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, e-psyche, PsycINFO, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Minerva Psichiatrica 2000 September;41(3):165-74
Acne as expression of a conflict between the self and the unconscious, studied through a new diagnostic method: the guided immagination
Background. The authors' study focuses on the skin first and fundamental organ allowing a contact between man and the external world. The unconscious‹where repressed and blocked defence mechanisms create a barrier between the self and the environment‹writes its messages on the skin, like in a book. Aim of this paper is to study a particular type of psychodermopathy.
Methods. Sixty adult women with acne and mainly on their face have been studied: 30 belong to the acne group and 30 to the control group. The patients of both groups were requested to make the MMPI as well as Guided Imagination exercises, or the so-called guided journey; that is, a journey in which images are recognized by the conscious self as a sensory experience and in which‹in spite of what happens during the true oneiric activity‹the confrontation is not mediated by the memory of the dream. Feelings and emotions are extremely lucid and clear and consequently the conscious self partly loses its dominance, and‹although feeling the desire to censure the images and relegate them into the unconscious‹nevertheless it is compelled to cope with their immediacy.
Results. The interpretation of MMPI indicated that the control group didn't show worrying characteristics. The group of the patients with acne showed instead signs of depression, difficulties in planning their future and their distinguishing feature was represented by a sense of inner isolation. The guided dream confirmed MMPI results.
Conclusions. At the end of the study, the authors divided the sample into three groups: 1) those who withdrew into themselves, thus refusing to recognize themselves; 2) those who accepted to recognize their conflicts, but were unable to solve them; 3) those who recognized their conflicts and succeeded in solving them and in eliminating the skin disease.