- sensory conversion
- A term that has historically had a variety of meanings and connotations, most of which revolve around the notion of a pathological process by means of which anxiety, generated by an intrapsychic conflict, is unconsciously transformed into an illusory or hallucinatory percept. The term conversion was possibly introduced in 1795 by the British physician John Ferriar (17611815), who used it in the context of what he called hysterical conversion. In 1895, the term conversion was borrowed by the Austrian psychoanalysts Josef Breuer (1842-1925) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) to denote the development of sensory and motor symptoms in hysteria. In the literature on sensory conversion, the resulting illusory and hallucinatory percepts are designated as *conversive hallucinations or * conversion hallucinations. In classifications such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ofMental Disorders (DSM), sensory conversion is classified as a symptom of conversion disorder, which itself constitutes a subclass of the somatoform disorders. Conversion disorder is a nosological category which shows considerable overlap with notions such as somatization and hysteria. It is conceptualized as a syndrome characterized by an alteration of sensory and/or motor functions suggestive of a neurological disorder, but one which cannot be confirmed by means of state-of-the-art physical and auxiliary examination. To avoid the pitfall of dealing with a somatic disease as yet unknown to medicine by passing it off as conversion, psychological factors must be presented which are associated with the onset and/or exacerbation of the symptoms. Two common examples of conversion disorder are conversion paralysis and * conversion blindness. In both cases, the affected individual is thought to resolve an underlying conflict by the unconscious use of symptoms. * Scierneuropsia, a psy-chogenic visual disturbance characterized by a perceived lack of brightness in extracorporeal objects and stimuli, may well fit into this category. The term sensory conversion is used in opposition to the term motor conversion, which is conceptualized as a symptom or condition in which anxiety generated by an intrapsychic conflict is transformed into motor symptoms. The 1982 Manual for the Assessment and Documentation of Psychopathology (AMDP) lists pseudoneuro-logic bodily disturbances such as aphonia, blindness, deafness, paresis, abasia, and psychogenic seizures as typical conversion symptoms.ReferencesBreuer, J., Freud, S. (1956). Studies on hysteria. Translated and edited by Strachey, J., Strachey, A. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis.Guy, W., Ban, T.A., eds. (1982). The AMDP-system: Manual for the assessment and documentation of psychopathology. Berlin: Springer.Sirota, P., Spivac, B., Meshulam, B. (1987). Con-versive hallucinations. British Journal of Psychiatry, 151, 844-846.Taylor, G.J. (2003). Somatization and conversion: Distinct or overlapping constructs? Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, 31, 487-508.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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conversion — see sensory conversion … Dictionary of Hallucinations
conversion anaesthesia — Also known as psychogenic anaesthesia. Both terms are used to denote the inability or strongly diminished ability to perceive tactile sensations, due to * sensory conversion. An extreme variant of this symptom, described in hypnosis and… … Dictionary of Hallucinations
Conversion disorder — Classification and external resources ICD 10 F44 ICD 9 300.11 … Wikipedia
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conversion disorder — n a psychoneurosis in which bodily symptoms (as paralysis of the limbs) appear without physical basis called also conversion hysteria, conversion reaction * * * a psychological conflict or need that manifests itself as an organic dysfunction or… … Medical dictionary
conversion — [kən vʉr′zhən, kən vʉr′shən] n. [ME conversioun < OFr conversion < L conversio < pp. of convertere: see CONVERT] 1. a converting or being converted; specif., a) a change from lack of faith to religious belief; adoption of a religion b) a … English World dictionary
conversion disorder — Psychiatry. a mental disorder in which physical symptoms, as paralysis or blindness, occur without apparent physical cause and instead appear to result from psychological conflict or need. Also called conversion hysteria. * * * ▪ psychology… … Universalium
conversion — 1. SYN: transmutation. 2. An unconscious defense mechanism by which the anxiety which stems from an unconscious conflict is converted and expressed symbolically as a physical symptom; transformation of an emotion … Medical dictionary
conversion — n. (in psychiatry) the expression of conflict as physical symptoms. Psychoanalysts believe that the repressed instinctual drive is manifested as motor or sensory loss, such as paralysis, rather than as speech or action. This is thought to be one… … The new mediacal dictionary