Image from Etudes cliniques sur l'hystéro-épilepsie, ou grande hystérie, 1881 ©  Paul Richer | A. Delahaye, E. Lecrosnier
EssaysFeatureSex & GenderThe Psyche

Sick Bodies, Hysterical Pregnancies, ISIS Wives

Conversion Disorder

I wonder if “conversion disorder” — a classical psychiatric term for the conversion of psyche into soma in the form of psychosomatic issues — could be one way of thinking about the present. Especially with so many patients complaining of bodily symptoms, armed at times with cadres of healers; with so many seeking recourse to pharmacological treatments or bodily modification of various sorts, plastic and otherwise; with young men and women seemingly willing to direct violence at any-body, including themselves, in the name of powerful religious ideals.  Something increasingly insists on the level of the …

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