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Emotional Deprivation Disorder

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Emotional Deprivation Disorder (previously called Deprivation Neurosis or the Frustration Neurosis in Dutch) but changed to comply with the American Psychiatric Association standards) is a disorder characterized by difficulty in forming relationships with others, a general feeling of inadequacy, and an oversensitivity to criticism of others. It was modeled by Conrad Baars and Anna Terruwe, both whom theorize this disorder is brought about by a lack of unconditional love during a person's life. As of January 2006 (the writing of this article), Emotional Deprivation Disorder is not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Discovery

Emotional Deprivation Disorder was formulated by Anna Terruwe after her experience with practicing psychoanalytic therapy. Terruwe was treating a 25-year woman for "intense anxiety" and "an unusually infantile emotional life", whom Terruwe described as highly intelligent. After six months of psychotherapy, the patient said, "Doctor, nothing that you say has any effect on me. For six months I have been sitting here hoping you would take me to your heart… you have been blind to my needs." [1]

This statement led Terruwe to the conclusion that the patient "felt like a child. She needed only one thing—namely, to be treated in a tender, motherly fashion" [2]. Terruwe and her colleague, Conrad Baars, set out to research the effect of lack of tenderness in a person. Primarily, they studied patients who did not respond to psychoanalytic therapy. Their research led to the development of the diagnosis of Emotional Deprivation Disorder. [3]

Symptoms

This list is a summary. A more comprehensive list can be found here.

Insufficiently Developed Emotional Life

  • Capability of "willing" social contact with others, but not in finding emotional satisfaction in it. [4]
  • Feelings of loneliness and discomfort in social situations. [5]
  • Incapability of emotional surrender (being comfortable in feeling any emotion) toward a spouse. [6]
  • May appear excessively courageous and energetic. [7]

Uncertainty & Insecurity

  • Fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. [8]
  • Need for frequent reassurance. [9]
  • Overly sensitive to the judgments, criticisms, or slights of other people. [10]
  • Tendency to please others in hopes of gaining approval and avoiding criticism and rejection. [11]
  • Worried about the opinion of others. [12]

Inferiority and Inadequacy

  • Belief of being incapable of being loved. [13]
  • Belief of being incapable of loving another. [14]
  • Suspicion of reassurance and affection given out of fear of ulterior motives. [15]

Sense Impairments

  • Undeveloped or underdeveloped senses (touch, taste, sight, smell) [16]
  • Fatigue [17]

Further Symptoms Found in Some Individuals

  • Deep feelings of guilt [18]
  • Need to collect and hoard useless things [19]

Treatment

Baars and Terruwe theorize that treatment for Emotional Deprivation Disorder lies in providing a replacement for the unconditional love one never had in life. They call this process affirmation (which is different from affirmations, statements one repeats to oneself for reassurance). Both believe that because a person is denied nurturing of their childlike state, that person is "frustrated" and cannot grow into a mature adult state until that unconditional love is provided. [20]

The philosophy of affirmation therapy is being "affective" over "effective", or "being" over "doing". Affirmation therapy is not based on techniques for treatment, rather, it involves a person described as mature and affirmed opening up to an unaffirmed person (the patient). It involves the therapist simply being genuinely interested in the patient's life, which will show through the therapist's eye contact and facial expression. [21] Another important aspect of affirmation therapy is patience with the client. Baars and Terruwe believe that through gentle guidance, rather than yelling or verbal pressure, the patient will emotionally mature into an adult at his or her own pace. [22]

Baars and Terruwe believe that through affirmation therapy, the patient will learn to trust another human. In that, the symptoms of Emotional Deprivation Disorder will gradually disappear. [23]

See also

  • Disorders with some similar symptoms

Further reading

  • Baars, Conrad W., Feeling and Healing Your Emotions, Rev. ed. Suzanne M. Baars and Bonnie N. Shayne (eds.). Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1979, Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2003.
  • Baars, Conrad W., Born Only Once: The Miracle of Affirmation, Quincy, Ill: Franciscan Press, Quincy University, 2001.
  • Baars, Conrad W. & Anna A. Terruwe. Healing the Unaffirmed: Recognizing Emotional Deprivation Disorder, Rev. ed. Suzanne M. Baars and Bonnie N. Shayne (eds.). Staten Island, NY: ST PAULS/Alba House, 2002. (Previously published by Alba House as Healing the Unaffirmed: Recognizing Deprivation Neurosis.)
  • Emotional Deprivation Disorder

References

External links

Websites

  • Conrad Baars Website maintained by Conrad Baars' daughter and her colleague. Contains information on his books and a summary of his ideas.
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