Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration in Psychology

Theory of Positive Disintegration 101: On Becoming Your Authentic SelfDo you ever wonder why some people go through a life-altering crisis only to come out the other side stronger and more at peace with themselves, while others fall apart and struggle to carry on?

It’s hard to predict who will rise from a tragedy like a phoenix from the ashes and who will need all of their strength just to keep their heads above water.

We all hope to be in the former category, of course, but it’s tough to know how we will respond to a disaster or crisis that causes us to question everything we thought we knew.

One psychological theory aims to clarify how such transformations occur, and the types of people who are likely to take advantage of such an opportunity for growth: the theory of positive disintegration.

The word “disintegration” might throw you off – this word is usually applied to situations where something dissolves entirely, burned to ashes, washed away by a tide, or swept into nothing by a strong wind.

However, this word is key to the theory. According to the developer of this theory, it is when tragedy strikes and our previous sense of self or identity is swept away like leaves on a breeze that we are at our greatest potential for growth. When we begin to question not only what we know, but who we are, we are able to pick up the pieces of ourselves that we want to keep, leave the ones we don’t and construct a new identity that is authentic to our true selves.

Of course, it doesn’t always take a tragedy of massive proportions to spark such a transformation, but one observant psychologist noticed that such circumstances are excellent catalysts for change and set off on a philosophical journey to find out how personality development unfolds.

The theory he outlined is one that has survived several decades and remains a persuasive and influential theory, particularly for understanding and encouraging the development of gifted children.

Read on to find out more about what sets apart those who thrive after upheaval from those who hit a wall in their development or even regress.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Self-Compassion Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will not only help you increase the compassion and kindness you show yourself but will also give you the tools to help your clients, students, or employees show more compassion to themselves.

The Theory of Positive Disintegration

This theory of personality development through integration and disintegration was developed in the 1960s by Polish psychologist and psychiatrist named Kazimierz Dąbrowski. Dąbrowski’s childhood was profoundly influenced by World War I, which began when he was only 12 and continued through several of his teenage years.

Through his firsthand experience with the tragic outcomes of war, Dąbrowski observed that some individuals fell apart while others experienced meaningful personal growth. As many others did before him and many have done since he asked: “Why?”

The answer he put together to this question became the theory of positive disintegration, which in turn laid the foundation for modern theories of post-traumatic growth (Tillier, n.d.).

While there have been many distinct theories of personality development, Dąbrowski’s is different from most in its emphasis on the role of psychological discomfort in development. Some theories of personality development hypothesize relatively smooth transitions from one level or stage to the next, but positive disintegration’s development is driven by inner conflicts, angst, and even trauma (Mika, 2005).

Dąbrowski noticed that those who harness the potential of a crisis or trauma tend to have a kind of psychological extra-sensitivity or “overexcitability” that leads them to experience crises in “a stronger, deeper, and more personal manner” (Tillier, n.d., p. 1).

These individuals were more likely to react to traumatic events with self-reflection, an act that can propel them into and through the five levels of development Dąbrowski laid out. The drives that propel individuals through development can be described as:

  • First Factor: this factor draws from the most basic and instinctual level of the self; it is the expression of genetic instincts for survival, including hunger, sexuality, and competition.
  • Second Factor: external influences from our education, relationships, and general social environment comprise the second factor; this factor drives most of our day-to-day behavior, as socialization and conformation often take place without conscious thought about how we are making our daily decisions.
  • Third Factor: the third factor is the autonomous one; this factor is the result of conscious choice about what we value and what qualities and desires we will reject or pursue. The third factor drives us to behave in ways that we feel are more authentic to our true selves (Tillier, 2016).

You may have noticed that these three factors (very) roughly correspond to Freud’s theory of the three components of the mind. The first factor is similar to Freud’s id, the part of the mind concerned only with meeting survival needs and acting on animal instinct. The second factor shares some similarities with the ego, in that both recognize the importance of interacting with others and taking cues from our environment.

The third factor mirrors the superego’s focus on what we perceive as right and wrong and draws from our personal morals and values to drive decision making.

While Dąbrowski likely did not intend to map his theory on top of Freud’s components of the mind, it is interesting to note how influential Freud’s ideas were on psychological theory in the early to mid-1900s, and even still today.

With these three factors in mind, let’s take a look at the five levels of development proposed by Dąbrowski.

What we call normal is really a psychopathology of the average, so undramatic and so widely spread that we don’t even notice it ordinarily.

— Seph Fontane Pennock (@SephFontane) 15 Augustus 2015

Five Levels of Development in the Theory of Positive Disintegration

The Theory of Positive Disintegration personal growth First, a note on progression through these levels – not every individual will progress smoothly through these levels.

In fact, it seems that only those Dąbrowski recognized as high potential or highly overexcitable individuals are propelled through all five levels and emerge with a fully formed, altruistic personality, while many find themselves stalled in one of the levels of disintegration (more on this later).

The descriptions of these levels are drawn from Bailey’s 2010 article on Positive Disintegration.

Level One – Primary Integration

Primary Integration is the most basic, primitive level of development. This level is driven by the first factor, with the satisfaction of basic needs and desires as the individual’s only concerns. Those at this level (generally young children) have no need for deep or meaningful relationships with others, and disregard empathy, sympathy, or any acknowledgment of the needs and concerns of others (Bailey, 2010).

Level Two – Unilevel Disintegration

Level two is governed by the second factor and focused on conformity and social comparison. In this level, the individual is concerned with “fitting in” and is easily influenced by their social group. Some individuals at this level will begin to question the values and beliefs imposed upon them by their social group and will begin the process of discovering their own personal values and beliefs.

Level Three – Multilevel Disintegration

Individuals who began questioning their own beliefs and values in level two will begin to form their own beliefs and values in level three. They will notice the discrepancy between “the way things are” and “the way things ought to be,” a realization that will likely spark negative emotions, such as shame or guilt, as they look back on their mistakes and question themselves and their moral standing.

Level Four – Directed Multilevel Disintegration

The questioning and discovery of level three give way to increasingly goal- and value-directed behavior. The individual realizes who they are and who they want to be, and how they must act in order to be authentic. Those at level four truly care for others and act in accordance with this empathy.

Level Five – Secondary Integration

The highest level of development in Dąbrowski’s theory is marked by alignment between personal values and behavior, and the individual tailors their actions to work towards higher goals such as the betterment of society in general. The individual has formed their ideal personality and experiences peace with one’s self. All motivation is in the higher forms of empathy, autonomy, and authenticity.

Once again, you may notice the influence of another psychological theory in the description of these levels: Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This influence is no mistake – Dąbrowski was a friend of Maslow’s and an admirer of his work (Tillier, 2013). They disagreed on some key points of development, you can see the hierarchical development of increasingly actualized personality in both theories.

Overexcitability

Overexcitability positive disintegrationAccording to Dąbrowski’s theory, some people have a higher development potential than others.

This doesn’t mean an individual is predestined towards a specific level of development, but that there are inherent tendencies related to the development of personality.

This inherent potential is influenced by the other factors that drive the development process.

Overexcitability falls within the factor of inherent or genetic predispositions toward development. According to Dąbrowski, overexcitabilities are “higher than average responsiveness to stimuli” (Dąbrowski, 1972, p. 303).

These overexcitabilities can manifest in five different domains (Bailey, 2010; Mendaglio & Tillier, 2006):

  1. Psychomotor Overexcitabilities
    Individuals with psychomotor overexcitabilities will likely have excess physical energy, talk more frequently and faster than others, tend towards impulsivity and competitiveness, and may turn to excessive work to deal with stress or other problems.
  2. Sensual Overexcitabilities
    These individuals have a heightened response to the senses and may feel an enhanced need to touch and/or be touched. They may overeat and indulge in many superficial relationships, but they will also likely have a wide range of experiences interacting with others due to an aversion to loneliness and enhanced need of attention from others.
  3. Imagination Overexcitabilities
    Those with imagination overexcitability have a tendency towards visualization, and are likely to be inventive, highly imaginative, intuitive, and have a greater capacity for the use of imagery and metaphor.
  4. Intellectual Overexcitabilities
    Intellectually overexcitable individuals are persistent and voracious learners with a capacity for intense concentration and theoretical thinking. They will likely ask many questions and have an affinity for logic, puzzles, and mysteries.
  5. Emotional Overexcitabilities
    Those with emotional overexcitability will likely form strong attachments to people, places, and things. They may be highly inhibited, enthusiastic, and concerned about others, social justice, and their own sense of responsibility. Generally, these individuals are able to effectively feel and internalize the emotions of others.

According to Dąbrowski, individuals with overexcitabilities have a greater potential for personal development because they foster a different perspective on the world and drive a more personal and meaningful interpretation of one’s experiences (Dąbrowski, 1972).

While the presence of overexcitability on its own is not sufficient for progression through the five levels and the achievement of the highest level, it plays a large role in the individual’s potential. Special talents and abilities and a strong third-factor drive to self-expression also influence one’s development potential.

Research has shown that the most gifted and talented individuals are also likely to have at least one type of overexcitability (Silverman & Ellsworth, 1981).

Evidence for the Theory of Positive Disintegration

Much research has been conducted on Dąbrowski’s theory, and while there is no clear connection between higher developmental potential and higher development achieved, much of it suggests that the theory is a useful way of conceptualizing personality development.

For example, several studies have contributed to the idea of overexcitabilities driving behavior and career choices, among other things (Chang & Kuo, 2013; Lysy & Piechowski, 1983; Piechowski & Cunningham, 1985; Piechowski, Silverman, & Falk, 1985).

Another study by Miller, Silverman, and Falk (1994) showed that development potential (measured by overexcitability) is strongly associated with the level of development.

Researchers Mofield and Parker Peters (2015) recently confirmed the hypothesized relationship between overexcitabilities and perfectionism.

Among other explorations of the theory of positive disintegration, these studies suggest that Dąbrowski’s theory offers a useful, if not entirely comprehensive, perspective on personality development.

Applying This Theory to Counseling

overexcitability Applying This Theory to CounselingDue to the nature of overexcitable individuals, especially children, many of them may end up needing the help of a mental health professional to cope.

For some, the overexcitabilities may leave them bursting with energy, psychological, emotion, physical, or otherwise. For others, their overexcitability may manifest in eccentricities or behavior that is outside of the norms of normal behavior in their social group.

In addition, while some overexcitable individuals are propelled through the stages of personality development, others may struggle with their overexcitabilities due to an environment that does not foster development or even actively inhibits development.

In general, those with overexcitabilities will likely need extra care, time, and/or attention in counseling. Their extra-sensitivity to their environment and to their own feelings and sensations may make it difficult to concentrate or to see things from the same perspective as others. While this different perspective may sometimes be a boon for these individuals, it can often be a hindrance as well.

When working with overexcitable individuals, it is important to remember that, according to Dąbrowski himself, even those with the most development potential can be stalled or stuck in their development due to their environment and social group. It is vital that you help provide that safe and nurturing environment that will facilitate development into their full potential. For some of these individuals, the counselor’s office may be the only place where they are encouraged in this journey.

The most effective types of treatment or exercises will depend on which kinds of overexcitabilities the client has.

What works for someone who is emotionally overexcitable may do nothing for those with intellectual overexcitabilities, while the activities that help the intellectuals thrive may be absolutely pointless for those with psychomotor overexcitabilities. Whichever type of overexcitabilities these individuals have, there are specific strategies for counseling them that can help.

Baily (2010) lists the following counseling strategies by type:

Psychomotor Overexcitability Strategies

For those with excess physical energy, Bailey suggests helping them find constructive ways to release this energy. Physical therapy and sensory integration techniques may help, in addition to relaxation techniques. For those with the most pronounced cases of excess energy, medication may allow them to better focus and concentrate on the task at hand and help them develop or practice strategies for self-control.

For example, meditation, mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, and other simple and easy-to-do relaxation techniques can make a big difference for individuals bursting with energy.

Sensual Overexcitability Strategies

Bailey recommends that counselors help individuals who have sensual over-excitabilities to develop greater self-control and encourage self-reflection. Those easily overloaded by sensual stimuli can benefit from recognizing their triggers, understanding their responses, and taking steps to lessen the frequency of derailment in their day-to-day lives.

Physical therapy may also help these people or desensitization techniques to help them shed their most intrusive responses to overwhelming stimuli.

Imaginational Overexcitability Strategies

While it is not necessarily a bad thing to be overly imaginative, those with a higher tendency to lose themselves in their imagination can potentially lose themselves in more negative tendencies, such as delusions and other detachments from reality. To help these individuals stay firmly rooted in reality, mental health professionals can focus on steering them towards creativity rather than isolation.

Sometimes this group will need help to keep from blurring the line between what is real and what is fantasy.

Intellectual Overexcitability Strategies

For individuals with intellectual over-excitabilities, psychologists and counselors can help them balance their tendencies towards intellectual pursuits with other important developmental activities. These individuals may end up neglecting their emotional and moral development to pursue only intellectual achievement.

When counseling people in this group, it may be helpful to teach them strategies to counteract this over-intellectualization and encourage them to use their imagination more often. Encouraging them to spark an interest in an artistic pursuit like music or art can help them balance out their activities.

Emotional Overexcitability Strategies

When working with emotionally overexcitable individuals, it is important that mental health professionals understand their unique perspective and the unique problems that come with this perspective. They may need validation from others and recognition of who they are as individuals. They may also need extra support and empathy.

Psychologist Elizabeth Mika (2002) encourages the use of therapies such as cinematherapy (using movies to reflect on the self and further development) or bibliotherapy (using books to reflect on the self and further development) and the instruction in relaxation techniques such as those listed earlier. In addition, reframing techniques may help these individuals see their problems and their tendencies in a new light, which can lead to reduced distress and a greater appreciation for the unique aspects of the self.

A Take-Home Message

In this piece, I’ve given a brief overview of Dąbrowski’s theory of positive disintegration, a grand theory of personality development rooted in a young boy’s observations of the nasty business of war. While such tragic and profoundly life-altering experiences are excellent propellers of personal growth, they can also leave people feeling stuck.

This theory attempts to explain why some push through the experience and emerge as better, wiser, or more authentic versions of themselves, while others break apart and struggle to put the pieces back together.

I hope this article has given you a general understanding of the theory of positive disintegration, but if anything here has sparked your interest I encourage you to continue learning about this theory of personality development. A short article can offer a good bird’s eye view, but for a greater depth of understanding I suggest adding the following readings to your list:

  • The Organized Multilevel Disintegration as an Emerging Order by Krystyna Laycraft (slideshow)
  • Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration by Sal Mendaglio (book)
  • Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dąbrowski and William Tillier (book)
  • Personality-Shaping Through Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dąbrowski (book)
  • Mental Growth Through Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dąbrowski (book)
  • Psychoneurosis is Not An Illness: Neuroses and Psychoneuroses from the Perspective of Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dąbrowski (book)
  • Dąbrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration and Giftedness: Overexcitability Research Findings by Sal Mendaglio and William Tillier (article)

This theory is one that I found both intriguing and compelling, and I hope that I have presented it in a way that is true to its nature.

Thank you for reading, and please don’t hesitate to leave us any comments or questions you have! Are you familiar with this theory? What do you think of it? Does it help explain some of your own observations on personality development?

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Self Compassion Exercises for free.

References

  • Bailey, C. L. (2010). Overexcitabilities and sensitivities: Implications of Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration for counseling the gifted. Counseling Outfitters. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/resources/library/vistas/2010-V-Online/Article_10.pdf
  • Chang, H., & Kuo, C. (2013). Overexcitabilities: Empirical studies and application. Learning and Individual Differences, 23, 55-63.
  • Dąbrowski, K. (1972). Psychoneurosis is not an illness. London, UK: Gryf.
  • Lysy, K. Z. (1979). Personal growth in counselors and noncounselors: A Jungian and Dabrowskian approach. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • Mendaglio, S., & Tillier, W. (2006). Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration and giftedness: Overexcitability research findings. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 30, 68-87.
  • Mika, E. (2002). Patterns of overexcitabilities in gifted children – A study. In Proceedings from the Fifth International Conference of the Theory of Positive Disintegration, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • Mika, E. (2005). Theory of positive disintegration as a model of personality development for exceptional individuals. Talent Development Resources. Retrieved from http://talentdevelop.com/articles/TOPDAAM1.html
  • Miller, N. B., Silverman, L. K., & Falk, R. F. (1994). Emotional development, intellectual ability, and gender. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 18, 20-38.
  • Mofield, E. L., & Parker Peters, M. (2015). The relationship between perfectionism and overexcitabilities in gifted adolescents. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 38, 405-427.
  • Piechowski, M. M., & Cunningham, K. (1985). Patterns of overexcitability in a group of artists. Journal of Creative Behavior, 19, 153-174.
  • Piechowski, M. M., Silverman, L., & Falk, F. (1985). Comparison of intellectually and artistically gifted on five dimensions of mental functions. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 60, 539-549.
  • Rivero, L. (2011, July 11). Diagnosis normal: Bright, conflicted, and out of sync. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-synthesis/201107/diagnosis-normal-bright-conflicted-and-out-sync
  • Silverman, L. K., & Ellsworth, B. (1981). The theory of positive disintegration and its implications for giftedness. In N. Duda (Ed.), Theory of positive disintegration: Proceedings of the third international conference (pp. 179-194). Miami, FL: Xerox.
  • Tiller, W. (n.d.). The theory of positive disintegration by Kazimierz Dąbrowski. PositiveDisintegration.com. Retrieved from http://www.positivedisintegration.com/
  • Tillier, W. (2013). Biography of Kazimierz Dąbrowski. PositiveDisintegration.com. Retrieved from https://positivedisintegration.com/dabbio08.htm
  • Tillier, W. (2016). Dąbrowski 101: An introduction to Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration [Presentation]. PositiveDisintegration.com. Retrieved from http://www.positivedisintegration.com/Dabrowski101.pdf

Comments

What our readers think

  1. Josh S

    I don’t know if you are still maintaining this page, so I’ll be brief now and longer if you are.

    I know this is a quick intro page, not an in depth explanation of the Theory, but I was wondering why you changed the names of Levels 3 and 4. Level 3 is Spontaneous Multilevel Disintegration. Level 4 is Organized Multilevel Disintegration.

    More later, if you want it.

    Reply
  2. Chris

    Wow. Would love to know how these concepts might interact with trauma that leads to being stuck and unable to move through to an authentic self … although taking this new (to me) perspective already gives me some ideas..

    Reply
  3. Ralph M. Rickenbach

    I am a person with high intellectual and imaginational OE and not quite so high sensory OE. Let me ask you a question:

    Whenever I ask for help, I am told that I can (and I am intentionally using what I understood you wer recommending too here) aim my imaginational OE from isolation to creativity, learn to tone down my sensory/sensual OE desensitizing, but that I have to counteract my intellectual OE with imagination and emotions.

    I find this highly aggravating as it seems to include a negativity in intellectual OE that can only be dealt by stepping out of it. I would like to have you say some words to that.

    I have heard and experienced that many psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists tend to propose strategies that lead to a re-integration into level 1, primary integration, to release stress and anxiety and make us more palatable. How are your strategies different?

    After more than 3 decades of multiple times travelling through levels 2-4 only to re-integrate to primary integration out of fear of hell (pastoral care that told me that I would lose salvation), felt need for belonging (as reinforced by professionals) and the wish to bring change to people while thinking that I had to be accepted and understood by them, I finally gave up and this time proceeded to a beginning secondary integration. Mainly, by letting my OEs loose. If I go into sensory overflow for a few days, with lightnings in my head and the need to shut down almost all sensory input, laying in a dark undecorated room, I know I will come out of it with new ideas and insight, as my imaginational and intellectual OE are unrestrained during that time.

    What could the benefits of full acceptance of OEs be, and what would the danger be?

    Thank you
    Ralph

    Reply
    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Ralph,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and for your thoughtful insight here. I’m not an expert on this specific theory, but know a bit about related theories of development (Cook-Grueter’s Ego-Development Theory). So I’ll attempt to answer your question through this lens!

      My sense is that ‘overexcitability,’ whatever form it takes, can be a gift that helps you to ‘feel,’ ‘think’ (etc.) your way through challenging experiences and gain new insights. These insights can allow your personality, ego, etc. to develop/reach new levels. And at these different levels, you’ll experience consciousness in different ways, often characterized by less suffering. An Ego-development perspective would say that we tend to establish a ‘home base’ at a particular stage, and I’d say it’s the same in this theory re: the levels.

      Having challenging experiences (especially as an overexcitable person) can nudge us toward higher levels of development. Experience enough challenges and you may find yourself sitting at a new ‘home base’ — a higher level. However, if an environment is not very conducive to development (e.g., strongly reinforced group norms to adhere to the principles of a religion, hostile environments where one must focus on survival, etc.), people may find themselves stuck in earlier stages/levels.

      It seems like you know your own mind well! But yes, there is a danger of becoming overwhelmed if you’re prone to overexcitability, and you may need to withdraw, recharge, etc. It can be difficult to function and do normal-life things when in the throes of one of these experiences (this is the downside). But I’m sure you’ll agree the insights at the end are worth it. So my suggestion would be to be kind with yourself and try to take the time out to ‘feel,’ ‘think,’ (etc.) your way through the experience as much as possible when they arise.

      I hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

      Reply
  4. Morgan King

    Like others before me, i have been doing all this my life. my favourite words are disintegration and reintegration. i am a70 year old woman recently diagnosed Autistic and am astonished that this has been written about in psychology. how amazing!

    Reply
  5. Jasmin

    I didn’t know that my “way of being” had been psychologically identified. I always wondered if there were more people out there like me. People around me, friends and family do not share my same sensibility (intelectual and emotional). In my case, I split off. I created another personality to adapt to my external world in the best way and as a response to other family factors. I used my intellectual advantage to study computers, get a “good job” , make money, and be able to help my family. I created this people-pleasing and doing-the-right-thing type of persona. I left the over-excitability part of me in the back burner which left me with a constant cognitive and emotional dissonance and a sense of isolation even though I was surrounded by friends and family.

    Now in my 40s I’m letting my underdeveloped self to come out more. She is like little child but I’m learning to nurture her and encourage her to own her own intensity and excitability as potential for creativity and personal growth. It hasn’t been easy. Too many years hiding and the outside persona doesn’t let go that easily. Looking for ways to integrate but it’s a painful process of dying and resurrecting.

    This is what helped me manage my intensity (over excitability) – Rituals in the morning to ground my self and which include connection with the land where I live, nature, and my body (specially for the intellectual and emotional OE ones), journaling, a creative outlet, I picked Tarot to develop my intuition and compensate the intelectual OE. Tarot is really one of the most beautiful and insightful psychological and spiritual tools we have available right now (it doesn’t have anything to do with fortune-telling garb or anything like that).

    Thank you very much for this article and I hope we can get organize and help building a better world in these moments of such an intense emotional upheaval.

    Reply
    • Morgan King

      ditto Jasmin.

      Reply
  6. Joshua Eisenhart

    so where do all of OEs team up? We are the living embodiment of Positive feedback loops–the lights that never dim in the darkest night. Collectives are formed in negative feedback loops. There is a reason OEs are not organized as a group. A process of communication and collective responsibility as individuals needs to begin, Now. No authorities on this earth will help, not one member of our families or even those that would claim to support us. They have no capacity nor right to judge nor lead us. Children can no longer rule this planet.

    Reply
    • Adults With OE

      Good question – one I’ve tried to get a ball rolling on on YouTube, FB and Twitter under ‘Adults With Overexcitabilities’. There’s not a lot of self help info. Particularly not for adults with working lives. There are no groups. I don’t know anyone with OE. It’s lonely…

      And the things no one seems to want to talk about, is how painful both the original isolation, and the process of PD actually are! Excruciating! Not every gifted person is a nobel winning rockstar. We’re not all Tony Stark. Some of us have Joe Jobs, and if you’re like me, you’ve waded through the mires of misdiagnosis, incorrectly prescribed medication, addiction, depression, and yes – even the worst states of thought…

      It’s painful stuff you have to work through by yourself, and because there’s so little information on how to cope as an adult, I just KNOW there must be people out there, who haven’t had their ‘AHA!’ moment – and they might still be suffering. That thought breaks my heart.

      I’m no expert. I’m just one person with OE trying to make a place for us to congregate, and share the information freely so others don’t have to suffer like I did.

      Reply
  7. Bill Middendorf

    As a therapist, I have known this theory for over 10 years. While I personally have been helped by this theory, I find it almost impossible to relate it to my clients. There is so little literature on Dabrowski and counseling my clients, I just use Kohlberg s stages of moral development.

    Reply
  8. Peter Murphy

    Hi my names Peter recently widowed shortly followed by my brother death then by life changing op then covid virus no family or neighbour support alone in countryside for first time no friends but for some reason actively challenging my physical and emotional challenges remain emphatic caring to others living positively despite my loneliness but this loneliness recurs fr 19 month isolated how can I build myself further nto a better caring me

    Reply
    • Lydia

      Hang in their, although it might feel lonely now, u r not alone, their r human beings all around who share ur experience, and care so deeply about ur pain……keep on being strong and patient, better days will come, I am sure of it.

      Reply
  9. Anna-Maria

    So if I’m one of the cases that has been slow down because society around me prohibits my further development, and I am cut off because I’m the type that needs to receive empathy and encouragement. I have that from my family, but they are going through a rough patch that leaves me alone with this for long periods of time. I’m almost 30 and I don’t have access to help right now. and don’t know when I will… can’t I help my self? isn’t there some way so I don’t depend on others?
    Because mostly I’m level 5, but when it comes to my personal triamphs, sometimes I have a hard time achieving what I am capable of achieving…

    Reply
    • Lydia

      Society at this point is destructive to self development, it lacks empathy, u r not alone in how u feel….. it nice to have a mate or a lover in this…..find love, that really worked for me.

      Reply
      • Victor

        It really brightens my heart to hear that, lately i’m starting to figure out that finding love and a meaningful relationship might be a great step forward, thank you for comforting me that it’s not an obsession or a means to cope with reality you spittin faxxx !!

        Reply

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