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date: 20 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the concept of “paranoia” from the perspective of phenomenological psychoptholgy. In so doing, it looks at the contribution of various authors, including Kohut who identifies in the bipolar shame/rabies oscillation a strongly connotative characteristic of the structure of paranoid personality in its potential delirious evolutions. This oscillation, in evolving toward the most stable condition of the “chronic narcissistic anger,” finds its most typical psychopathological expression in paranoid querulomanic delusions. The shame/rabies oscillation can be partially superimposed on the oscillation between the Astenic/Sthenic poles inside which, for Kretschmer, the whole arc of the paranoidal “delirious developments” unfolds. Cargnello suggests that the paranoid condition implies a regime of instability between two opposing polarities: the megalomaniac defense and the persecutory risk. This chapter discusses why, in the opinion of this author, the approach of many in the field, who focus on the behavioral aspects of paranoia, is lacking.

Keywords: psychopathology, phenomenology, paranoia, shame/rabies, persecutory risk, megalomaniac defense, paranoiac imaginary background

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