chapter  IV
Conscious Orientation and Psychosis
ByJ H Van Der Hoop
Pages 45

The problem of the relationship between certain psychoses and certain character-forms has attracted the attention of many students. Lately, as a result of Kretschmer’s researches on bodily structure and character, it has again become the centre of interest. Kretschmer, as is well known, took as his starting-point schizophrenia and the manic-depressive psychosis, and he discovered in large groups of normal people, as significant factors in their makeup, the same bodily and mental peculiarities that he found in these psychoses. This point of view differs from that previously adopted, since attention had hitherto been concentrated on the relationship between psychosis and smaller groups of abnormal characters, as, for instance, between paranoia and the paranoid character, and melancholia and the melancholy character. In Holland, Jelgersma 1 has stated this relationship with great clarity. Kretschmer, however, described normal people in the light of the distinctive characteristics of these psychotics. A study of his psycho-physical types suggests that we are here dealing with differences which are deep-rooted in human nature, belonging to a realm which lies far deeper than the conscious personality. This agrees with the general conception, that in the case of the psychoses, mental forms and contents break through from the depths, to break up or destroy the structure of personality. These forms and contents will therefore scarcely be explicable from peculiarities of the conscious personality. One may assume, rather, that they point to peculiarities in the deeper structure, and that this structure will also determine certain characteristics of the conscious personality. Kretschmer agrees with this, and has mentioned, in addition to physical qualities, certain mental peculiarities which point to such a structure.