The Betrayed Self

Alfried Längle

Key words: existential analysis, personality disorder, dissociality, adaptation, ego-building


Dissociality as a personality disorder differs from asocial elements that can to a certain extent be found in everyone due to human limitations. Dissociality means the inability to behave authentically and with orientation at values in a contextual structure. The necessary ego-struc­tures and the capacity for empathy are not sufficiently developed. Dissociality is an adaptive disorder, but adaptation itself may have dissocial traits. In existential-analytical under­standing the genesis of dissociality lies in a deficient development of ego-functions (self-image, self-respect and self-value). This comes about mainly through disappointed expectations and traumatizing experiences in relationships. The result is a disorder of the self whose specifi­city is seen in connection with enduring experien­ces of a deficient integration into life. There is no experience of constructive contexts resulting in an inability of the person to create contexts and to preserve constructive structures.

Compensation leads to seemingly arbitrary constructions of ersatz worlds and to a reactive diffusion of tensions. Therapy can use these lacking structures as a starting point, firstly, by paying attention to authentic encountering and, secondly, by creating an atmosphere that is at once stable, accepting and demanding active participation. Only later will work on the history of the disorder and the probable delinquency lead to positive results.


As Failed Adaptive Dynamics at the Intersection of the Individual and Society

Jürgen Kriz

Key words: dissociality, personality disorder, society


The diagnosis of “Dissociality” illustrates most clearly the problem of the “personality disorder”: a circular argumentation describes and summarises some particular behaviour in one category in order to explain this very same behaviour. Since, in contrast to the majority of the other psychological disorders and due to the ego-syntony, we do not find suffering “patients” here – but rather a suffering “environment” –, the problem of adaptation between the individual and society becomes particularly evident: The complexly interwoven processes must be cut apart and attributed in a one-sided fashion to the “person(ality)” in order to diagnose pathological behaviour in a sane society (instead of the reverse). This paper is to put the interconnectedness in the centre.


Marginal Cultures
About a Cultural Anthropology (resp. Sociology) of Dissociality

Roland Girtler

Key words: dissociality, violence, marginal groups, marginal cultures


People in marginal groups resp. marginal cultures are connected by common activities that are considered and labelled as criminal, depraved, dissolute and downright as indecent or strange.

From a sociological perspective they are „dis­social“ as far as their actions are in contradiction with essential notions of „social normality“ as held by the whole of society. Marginal cultures all have a special culture which comprises a specific idiom, strategies of survival and rituals. But violence is also characteristic of life in marginal cultures. My studies have led me to distinguish four types of marginal cultures. 1. Marginal cultures of protection and survival, such as the vagrants, prisoners and drug addicts. 2. Marginal cultures of revolution and rebellion – marginal cultures whose members rebel against existing systems. 3. Marginal cultures of the illegal or despised business- These marginal cultures are in a way identical with the „culture of thugs“, of prostitution and smuggling. Violence determines the life of these people in numerous ways. 4. Marginal cultures of common origin: sharing a specific language or cultural background. Displaced people, refugees and emigrants seek contact with each other in order to cope with their destiny in a dignified way. Their actions may be considered as „dissocial“ if it is in contradiction to conceived ideas of society as a whole.


Hermes’ Protégés and the Dissociality in Therapy

Patrick Frottier

Key words: dissocial personality disorder, psychopathy, forensic psychotherapy, offender treatment programs


In the history of psychotherapy the work with dissocial personalities has been marked by failure. Marked dissocial behaviour was finally described as a diagnostic category of its own and was considered almost impossible to treat, not to mention to heal. This pessimistic attitude cannot be maintained nowadays, therapy studies have shown high success quotas. But dealing therapeutically with dissociality demands a form of competence that is not procured by the majority of therapeutic training. The therapist’s fundamental attitude is a decisive criterion for the course and the success of a forensic therapy. Understanding dissocial behaviour as a defence and as a resource that can be used for the treatment implies that change starts with the therapist.


The Para-Existential Personality Disorder

An existential-analytical contribution to the theory of personality disorders

Christian and Ana-Maria Furnica

Key words: case demonstration, meaning, personality disorder


This paper is to show how faulty self-finding leads to a personality disorder, if it is accompanied with a deficient finding of meaning. This may be called “para-existential personality disorder”, because it replaces “meaning” by “purpose” and thus does not truly accomplish the “existential turn”. Thus the attribution of meaning supersedes the finding of meaning.

The paper illustrates the symptomatology of the disorder and its anthropological background, rendering the disorder easier to recognise and to diagnose. With the help of clinical cases the particularities that distinguish the para-existential personality disorder from other personality disorders will be sho


The Social Dimension of Freedom

Anthropological Reflections on the Relation between Freedom and Sociality

Manfred Zmy

Key words: dialogue, freedom, individual and society, person, selfreflection, social action


Ever since the antiquity the relations of the individual and society have been a central topic of philosophical anthropology. The characterization of the human being as a person in existential analysis and in logotherapy underlines the unique human individuality on the one hand and the human capacity for dialogue on the other hand. This paper is to look further into the concept of freedom in respect to its social dimension in order to understand the person and the human sociality better, following the social philosopher Johannes Heinrichs in his reflection theory of the social. In doing so the question of the conditions of the possible of a pre-existing sociality of the human being ( the couple, family, group, society) will be pursued and the social behaviour of humans will be considered.