The Lives of Positive Disintegration Project is an initiative that recognizes the importance and value of telling our stories and hearing the stories of others. We are looking to create a space within the Dąbrowski Center where people can come to tell their stories and experiences of Positive Disintegration and learn about how Positive Disintegrations may have been experienced by those who have been through the process already.
Dąbrowski believed that psychological tension is necessary for personal growth. This tension can sometimes be experienced as anxiety or depression. While others saw these processes as indicators of mental illness, he saw them as developmentally positive forces. The intensity of experience of individuals with strong developmental potential can feel deeply uncomfortable, and even cause a person to feel like they're coming apart at the seams. But within this intensity exists the necessary elements to search for and find a way out of suffering and mental pain.
Positive disintegration is a breakdown of mental structure and functioning. It feels like coming apart, breaking down, and then rebuilding. There are two types of disintegrative process—unilevel and multilevel—and the type matters because they are very different. Unilevel disintegration is less conscious, often tends to be more somatically experienced, and can be occurring outside the awareness of the person. Multilevel disintegration begins spontaneously, and it’s marked by intense inner conflict, a vertical “higher vs. lower” split created from a conflict of values. It’s possible to experience disintegration with both unilevel and multilevel dynamisms present. There is not only one way that this happens—it’s highly individual.
One reason why we launched this project is that we don’t have enough examples of positive disintegration outside of moral exemplars. We wanted to give a broader view of how these processes are experienced by a range of people.
Click here to access a document with the short definitions of dynamisms from Theory of Levels of Emotional Development, Volume 1.
Who can submit?
Anyone who feels they have been through a positive disintegration can submit to this project regardless of their age or stage in life. We would appreciate knowing your age.
What we are looking for:
We are looking for people to submit their own experiences, accounts, and descriptions of positive disintegrations which both honor your own process and can also help others newly embarking on the experience as well. Describe them, share what they felt like, your reflections, challenges, advice for others, and wherever possible, appropriate or relevant, how the experience relates to the Theory of Positive Disintegration.
Given the nature of all of the intricacies and differences of experiences, personalities, strengths, and talents, we are looking for variety, flexibility, and creativity in what is produced and offered. Feel free to write, dictate, create a video, create a play, work of art, photo essay, poetry, a piece of creative writing, or anything else that depicts your experience of a positive disintegration and feels like the right way for you to express yourself.
When this will happen:
This project is ongoing, and submissions will be reviewed and then posted on the Dąbrowski Center website for others to view and explore. An announcement will be made when the submissions are ready to be received.
Where will the stories be posted:
The pieces will be posted under the tab “The Lives of Positive Disintegration” (or something similar) on the Dąbrowski Center website.
How do I submit and ask questions?
Follow the link here to submit your piece through the website, or email the Dąbrowski Center directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Lives of PD Submission” as the subject line with any questions.
Why are we doing this?
Positive disintegrations are very personal or individual experiences, they can vary in intensity and length of time, ranging from a few days to a few years. People have often commented that hearing others' stories of positive disintegration experiences can be helpful because it mirrors their own experiences, validates what they’re going through, and provides a form of support for their own process. Currently, there aren’t a lot of spaces that contain the stories, making it hard for people to find them and gain that sense of support and validation.
This project was initiated out of the desire to share narratives, to create a place where the stories are welcome and where they can be heard by others, in hopes that they can offer some comfort, inspiration, and understanding that helps validate everyone’s unique experiences.
There are none. Really. Who likes rules?
While we welcome uncensored, realistic portrayals of each individual experience, please be mindful of your content and keep it respectful and aware of your readers/listeners/viewers' experiences and sensitivities as well as the privacy of others.
Please, avoid detailed accounts of trauma, violence, or suicidal ideation. While those aspects are important parts of our stories, keeping descriptions general is necessary to respect others and avoid exposure to secondary trauma. All pieces will be reviewed/screened to ensure the safety of others.
We require that your age, name, and contact information be noted when submitting your piece; however, if you wish to post it anonymously, that is an option to allow for more privacy.
There is no limit on length or format.