RE: [xmca] Vygotskyan approach to mental health - socio-genetic roots of mental diseases and psychotherapeutic semiotic mediation.

From: Achilles Delari Junior <achilles_delari who-is-at>
Date: Wed Jul 09 2008 - 08:05:16 PDT


“He [Vygotsky] was no child psychologist but a psychologist
who became increasingly interested in the theoretical problem
of development, which led him to study cultural diversity, brain
pathology, and other disciplines. By inclination he was a
theoretical psychologist. In practice, his applied work was most in clinical settings”
[Valsiner and Van de Veer (2000)
The social mind – construction of the idea. p. 339]

Mental health was not my field of study too. And I am not a professional
researcher as the important scholars which I have the very privilege to
listen here in XCMA, as you. I have read Vygotsky’s works since 1987,
intermittently, and I was interested in general psychology (theoretical
and methodological) problems and educational implications until 2000.
However, I gradually change my interest since 2000, because personal
motives and reflection about social consequences of psychological works
related to personal emotional experiences (perizhivánie?) like mine.
I’ve personally dealt with mental health issues too, there are three or
four generations of some level of humor/affective diseases (depression
and/or bipolar affective disorder), including me and my son. But I think
that Vygotsky is right about the dialectical relations between “everyday”
and “academic” concepts developing each other, in order to aid people to
living better (not "filogenetic better man", of course - discution that
arises because the suposed mistakes in Vygotsky's defectology and aproach
to writing importance to HMF development). Thus, I ask for help on XMCA,
despite my academic inexperience. Thank you for your important contributions
here. I didn’t know Kozulin and Gindis reference about this yet. If the mental
diseases will be viewed “as a sociocultural rather than an organic or individual
developmental phenomenon” (as you said), biochemical factors determinacy
will be replaced in a explicative psychopathological framework. I remember
a quotation made by Andrei Puzirei, in the note 26 to Vygotsky´s “Concrete
Human Psychology” (1929), in which he related Vygotsky´s thinking to the
literary text of Thomas Mann.

“Важно, как формулирует основную свою мысль Т. Манн, знать не то,
какой болезнью болен человек, но — какой человек болен данной болезнью.”

“It is important, as it formulates its basic thought T. Mann, to know not
with what illness man (person) is sick, but - what man (person) is sick
with this disease.”

Of course, we return to the question “what is a person?”… Or better “Who
is this person?” trouble minded, at this moment. Your contribution here,
Peter, shows that this person makes sense to his difference to the others,
in a social-cultural background, using available semiotic tools. Thus, I
understand that like in including education, mental health practices must
proceed in including different people in social relations that can create
the interpsychic semantic resources to mean difference in a healthfull way.
Seems to me a “psychological system” problem… Vygotsky says that is not so
important memory (for instance) as an isolated function, but the role of
this function in a inter-functional sistem, not memory, but how people uses
this memory, signify it… Then, I suppose that a “dysfunction” must to be
viewed in this way too, “what is the place, the role, of a “dysfunctional
process” in the whole interfunctional system of concrete person’s personality?”
But, to a depressive patient meaning and sense about his/her own experience
are dysfunctional… the genetic roots of these dysfunctional sense and meanings
must be traced as well as concrete semiotic process to replace/master them…
I wonder… But don’t know how.

Vygotsky´s clinical experience is very larger than I could know, until this
moment. Valsiner and Kozulin, points this experience but don’t describe it.
I know only 2 moments in which Vygotsky reports episodes of his clinical cases.
(1) In the text “The problem of Environment” (Vygotsky Reader) – the three
children that reacts differently to the sickness (alcoholism) of their mother;
(2) in the text “The diagnostics of development and the pedological clinic
of difficult children” - the “epileptoid boy”. Valsiner and Van der Veer
(Vygotsky - a quest for synthesis) quote the work about Pick’s Disease.
(Vygotsky, Samukhin, Birenbaum, 1934 - К ВОПРОСУ О ДЕМЕНЦИИ ПРИ БОЛЕЗНИ ПИКА
- Клиническое и экспериментально-психологическое исследование) – And seems to
be very interesting, because its detailed description and analysis of two
clinical cases (“K.” an “Z.”)… I will try to translate this text to Portuguese,
because I’m very curious about empirical data provide by Vygotsky himself –
and his comrades. Even Andrei Puzirey (note 24) had talked about the importance
of “psychotechnical metodology” in Vygotsky project to psychology ulterior development.
I think that create semiotic means to aid people obtain more mentally healthful
way to live is a possible path to develop Vygotskyan project, in this sense.

24 В работе «Исторический смысл психологического кризиса» (Собр. соч., т. 1, с.
289 и др.), обсуждая идею «общей психологии», понимаемой как «методология
психотехники» (в широком смысле последнего слова), или как «философия практики»,
Выготский формулирует как одну из принципиальнейших особенностей такой психологии ее
ориентацию на психотехнику в широком смысле этого слова, т.е. на технику рактической
работы с психикой, ее трансформации, овладения ею, ее развития. «Не Шекспир
в понятиях, — пишет Выготский, — как для Дильтея, есть цель такой психологии,
но психотехника — в одном слове, т. е. Научная теория, которая привела бы к
подчинению и овладению психикой, к искусственному управлению поведением».

24 In the work “historical sense of psychological crisis” (coll. works, T. 1,
p. 289 and others), discussing the idea “general psychology”, understood as
“the methodology of psychotechnics” (in the broad sense last word), or as
“the philosophy of practice”, Vygotsky formulates as one of the most fundamental
special features of such a psychology its orientation in the psychotechnics
in the broad sense of this word, i.e. to practical work technique with the
psyche, its transformations, mastery of it, of its development. “Not Shakespeare
in the concepts - it writes Vygotsky - as for Dilthey, is a purpose of such
a psychology, but psychotechnics - in one word, i.e. the scientific theory,
which would lead to the subordination and the mastery of psyche, to
artificial control of behavior” (based in WorldLingo, translation)…

What do you think about this Puzirey´s interpretation?

Thank you very much, for all... I will try to obtain Kozulin and Gindis
reference. I need to read so much... (difficulties with attention and
motivation had moved me away from reading tasks, I´m trying to recommence)
It´s a new and very good opportunity to me stay here in XMCA. Thank you very much. Achilles.
I will transcribe the contents of “Vygotsky, Samukhin and Birenbaum” text:
- Клиническое и экспериментально-психологическое исследование Contents

§ 1. Литературный обзор
§ 2. История болезни К.
§ 3. Клинический анализ случая.
§ 4. История болезни
§ 5. Клинический анализ
§ 6. К вопросу о клиническом изучении деменции

§ 1. К проблеме и методу исследования
§ 2. Данные экспериментально-психологического исследования больного К.
1. Связанность с полем в действии
а) Связанность с полем из-за чрезвычайной зависимости от структуры самого задания.
б) Связанность с полем из-за невозможности отграничения внутреннего напряжения от моторики.
в) Связанность с полем, выражающаяся в невозможности преодолеть отдельные А. Ch. внутри данного задания.
г) Связанность с полем из-за подчинения отдекльным силам поля, ведущим к распаду единого действия.
2. Связанность с полем в речи и мышлении
а) Структурно-ситуацонные моменты определяют смысловое поле.
б) Соскальзывания в смежные смысловые поля.
в) Смыслвые поля выводят за пределы задания.
3. Конкретность мышления
4. К анализу динамики афективных систем
§ 3. Данные экспериментально-психологического исследования больной З.
1. Связанность с полем в действии
а) Связанность с полем З...
б) Связанность с полем у З...
в) Больная чрезвычайно отзывчива на все...
2. Связанность с полем в речи и мышлении и особенности речи З.
а) Несмотря на внешнюю разорванность речи...
б) Гораздо чаще чем адевакные ответы...
в) Часто выступающие у больной «stehenne symtome»...
г) Отдельные слова, сказанные случайю...
3. К анализу динамики афективных систем и сопоставления больных Общие выводы


====================================================> From:
> To:
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Vygotskyan approach to mental health - socio-genetic roots of mental diseases and psychotherapeutic semiotic mediation.
> Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2008 08:24:41 -0400
> I have some very tentative thoughts on Vygotsky's approach to mental health, extrapolated from what I've read in the Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky, particularly the chapter by Kozulin and Gindis. I should qualify my comments by saying that I have no scholarly credentials for making this interpretation; mental health is not my field of study. At the same time, I've personally dealt with mental health issues; Asperger's, high anxiety, tourette's, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other neuroatypical makeups have run in my family for at least 3 generations, including through me. So I do have a vested interest in this discussion, if little in the way of formal knowledge.
> The field of defectology had origins in a mechanistic mindset that viewed non-normative children as having flaws that could be repaired in the manner of a broken-down car engine. Rather than taking the mechanistic approach that children with special needs were defective and could be fixed, Vygotsky viewed the question of their condition “as a sociocultural rather than an organic or individual developmental phenomenon” (p. CCV, 334). Kozulin and Gindis find that
> "The essence of Vygotsky’s approach to remedial education is in addressing the secondary disability, that is, by countering the negative social consequences of the primary disability. Vygotsky believed that physical and mental impairment could be overcome by creating alternative but essentially equivalent roads for cultural development. By acquiring the psychological tools, disabled children transform their natural abilities into higher mental functions as do their nondisabled peers." (CCV, p. 345)
> To Vygotsky, rather than “fixing” the “defect” in the child, an educator should strive to minimize or eliminate any environmental factors that could amplify the effects of the original point of concern. I imagine that this effort might focus on diminishing whatever stigmas follow from being different; that is, it might attempt to educate people in the setting about how to view those with non-normative physical or mental makeups and treat them respectfully and in light of their potential. A second approach would be to broaden the sign-and-tool systems available for mediation. Again, this tack would require changes in the environment so that new tools become sanctioned, and new approaches to assessment become available to allow for alternative paths to performance.
> I would guess that he would regard "mental illness" the same way he would view other forms of "disability": not so much as defective parts that need repair, but as non-normative ways of being that call for new activity systems.
> (12) From Achilles
> Vygotskyan approach to mental health - socio-genetic roots of mental diseases and psychotherapeutic semiotic mediation.
> “He (Vygotsky) did not believe in meaningless defect or retrogression: since the construction of the human mind follows a certain pattern, its destruction also cannot be arbitrary and therefore reveals specific rupture lines characteristic of the formation of the human psyche. That is why observations of the acquisition of language in the deaf-mute, concept formation in schizophrenics, and the rehabilitation of aphasics were for Vygotsky no less a part of developmental psychology than the sensory-motor behavior of the two-year old.” (Alex Kozuin, Vygotsky’s psychology – a biography of ideas, 1990 – p. 195)
> I want to study Vygotsky´s theoretical contributions to Mental Health: (1) mental diseases theoretical and methodological comprehension; and (2) therapeutics dialogical practices, in a cultural-historical approach. And I asked here on the existence of English translation from “Проблема развития и распада высших психических функций”, because I wish to translate it to Portuguese but not if it exists in English. Mike Cole suggests reading Luria, and Akhutina and Rodina. Very important suggestions, I will study Akhutina and Rodina, and search another references by Luria than the ones I have here (more in “classical science” style, than in the “romantic science” books, maybe the ones what I need, I don’t know). But, what more can you suggest to me about the “vygotskyan approach to mental health - socio-genetic roots of mental diseases and psychotherapeutic semiotic mediation”?
> Thank you very much.
> Achilles,
> Umuarama, July 5, 2008.
> (11) From Mike
> Luria-- Also check out Akhutina and Rodina article at LCHC. And ask on XMCA to see what comes up/mike
> (10) From Achilles
> I remember that there was a vygotskyan metaphorthat 'a building does not tumbling down, by anotherlaws that ones it was constructed' (not exactly this words,I quote by core)- maybe quoted by Kozulin, I don’t exactlyremember high now. Seems to me a important methodological principle, but I haven't seen much empirical work raised in it, in mental health historical-cultural research, if you could help me with this to, I will be very greatfull too.Thank you again, very much.Achilles,Umuarama, 04 July, 2008.
> (9) From Mike
> Yes, i firmly believe that.very important.mike
> (8) From Achilles
> Thanks...I had writed about my interest in othermail before read this.Do you think that 'raspada (desintegration) problem'can help us understand some questions to mentalhealth in historical-cultural approach?Achilles,Umuarama, July 4, 2008
> (7) From Bella
> Why italian? I sent you the Russian text- here it is once more.Mike, we just recently discussed problems of translation. If you want it tobe published in English, it would be reasonable to use the original Russiantext.Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
> (6) From Mike
> Whoa!! here is the article for Poalo in Italian!! I have sent to Pentti fortranslation in JREEP/mikePS-- Thanks BorisЛегче найти на итальянском:Il problema dello sviluppo e della disintegrazione delle funzioni psichichesuperiori // La psicologia sovietica 1917-1936. Roma: Edit. Riuniti, 1976.P. 330-347.С уважением,
> (5) From Mike
> No need to apologize for your English at all, Achilles!You provide a great reference in Kozulin's book that should be accessible to readers of XMCA, and in the article from Vygotsky reader. Abrigado!:-)mike
> (4) From Achilles
> Joao, Eugene and Mike,
> The original text, in Russian we have in Russian Wikipedia, but the link seems to be broken. But I have downloded it before. (atached here)
> I wonder that the 'raspada' (disintegration/decay) problem is related not only to the defectology matters, but to the pathopsychology's too (like schizophrenia and Pick's disease
> - Kozulin presents this question in 'Vygotsky - a biography of ideas' (cap. 6 – Mind in Trouble - section Psychopathology and Regression); And there is a Vygotsky´s article in the Vygotsky Reader about 'Though in Schizophrenia' (I translate to Portuguese); the text about Pick's disease by Vygotsky, Samukhin and Bierenbaum 'K voprosu o dementsii pri bolezni Pika - klinitcheskoe i eksperimen- tal'no issledovanie' we find only in Russian too, Joao obtains it here in the list and pass to me), but I don’t know yet. I can try translate the Russian 'Problema razvitia i raspada vyschikh psikhitcheskikh funktsii', aided by dictionaries and another on-line translation tools, trying to learn Russian psychological vocabulary, but if Eugene did it, its better.
> Thanks. Excuse me about my wrong English writing, ok? But I think that I can understand you very well, even so.
> Achilles
> Umuarama, July 4, 2008
> (3) From Mike
> Hi Joao & Eugene--
> I do not know of this article in English, although probably we can get it translated if it is not. Meantime, I can recommend two sources that should help:
> Vygotsky, L. (1993). The collected works of L.S.Vygotsky. Vol.2: The fundamentals of defectology (abnormal psychology and learning disabilities) (R.W.Rieber & A.S. Carton, Eds.). NY: Plenum Press.
> and
> Katarina Rodina's article which can be found at lchc as follows:
> AR Luria's work should be relevant in several places.
> Perhaps our Russian bibliophiles can come up with an origanal for translation?
> mike
> On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 3:58 AM,
> (2) From Joao
> Dear friends... somebody has this text in english:
> 'Problema razvitia i raspada vyschikh psikhitcheskikh funktsii'
> Thanks
> Joao Martins
> (1) Achilles para João
> Eu também teria outro favor para te pedir. É de perguntarna tua lista XMCA (é isso?), sobre haver ou não o seguinte textoem inglês. Em russo eu já tenho e quero traduzir (vai ser maisrápido que o do Pick), mas se já existir em outro lugar, nãohá necessidade. É o seguinte:'Problema razvitia i raspada vyschikh psikhitcheskikh funktsii''Problema do desenvolvimento e desintegração das funções psíquicassuperiores.'Será que já se encontra esse texto em inglês ou espanhol?
> _________________________________________________________________
> Instale a Barra de Ferramentas com Desktop Search e ganhe EMOTICONS para o Messenger! É GRÁTIS!
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Conheça o Windows Live Spaces, a rede de relacionamentos do Messenger!

xmca mailing list
Received on Wed Jul 9 08:06 PDT 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Aug 01 2008 - 00:30:07 PDT