Be Greeted, Psychoneurotics!

Greetings from Calgary, Alberta!  I’m here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains for a very special purpose: to attend the International Dabrowski Congress, a gathering of what I have found to be truly wonderful people—people I immediately recognized to be kindred spirits, and whom I know several of you who read this blog would consider so as well.

A special greeting to anyone who is visiting my blog from the Congress!  You’ll see that the Dabrowski drop-down menu leads to some pages that are very much works in progress, not read for the big time.  I’ve only written about one OE so far, and have only placeholder pages for most of the things—in other words, it’s really not ready for the big time.  Now that I’m all spun up with thoughts about Dabrowski’s theory, I’ll be working on finishing and improving them in the days and weeks to come (if you follow this blog or @CounterNarrate, I’ll post updates when the sketchy pages are finished), in an effort to spread the word about the Theory of Positive Disintegration to more people who know would value it, in a beginner-oriented way.

To other readers, I guess you must be scratching your head and wondering what on Earth I’m talking about.  Perhaps in particular the title of this post puzzles you.  Well, for now, all I’ll say is that Dr. Dabrowski was complimenting you if he called you a psychoneurotic, and he wrote this poem in your honor.

Dr. Dabrowski’s theory has become very valuable to me, and it could be to so many others if they only have an opportunity to hear about it.  In this blog, I’ll be working on some static pages (as opposed to blog posts, for those of you familiar with WordPress) to introduce the concepts and support blog posts I’ll be doing in the future on the subject.  I can’t wait to share these wonderful ideas with you, and I hope some of you will find them as meaningful as I have.

Right now, though, I’m going to go to bed, because I’ve just spent two days thinking about these ideas and I’m heading off to Banff National Park to process them tomorrow. I think it’s going to be the perfect place for a little transcendent thinking.

I can’t wait to tell you more!  Until then, everyone!


11 thoughts on “Be Greeted, Psychoneurotics!

  1. Anyone know Polish? I’ve been thinking for some time that there really needs to be a better translation of Dabrowski’s poem (starting with the term psychoneurotics…) Welcome, highly sensitive person doesn’t really cut it either!


    1. I can’t remember the source exactly, but I think that there’s another version out there, but that Dabrowski’s family considers this one–approved (if not translated? I’m not certain) by Kazimierz Dabrowski himself–the preferable one, the one that gets precisely at what he meant by it.

      I have to day, I’ve become kind of partial to the term psychoneurotics! It’s as though the process of coming to terms with that word is part of the process of recognizing that disintegrations can be positive. 🙂 But what about you? Do you find yourself put off by it, or fear that others would be, or…?


  2. I can live with the term psychoneurotics – just! – but the rest of the translation gets me every time. It’s like there’s an elusive glimpse of something deeper, flashes of it, but the whole translation just sounds a bit clunky and not quite ‘there’. Maybe it’s more elegant in Polish? I’ve always thought this poem was written about idealists (in the Keirsey sense) and INFJs in particular – maybe Dabrowski was one too? In fact searching for any info on this was how I came across your blog!

    The term ‘positive disintegration’ is an interesting one too – does ‘dark night of the soul’ sound more poetic? Less catastrophic?


    1. Ok now I’ve been inspired to give it a go – but set myself up for criticism after my previous comments! This may not be to everyone’s taste, especially if someone is used to the approved translation:

      Be welcome psychoneurotics!
      For you see sensitivity in the world’s insensitivities, uncertainty where others see certainty.
      For you often feel others as you feel yourself.
      For you feel the world’s anxieties and its narrow self assurance.
      For your fear of getting your hands dirty,
      Of being locked in by the world’s limitations
      Of the absurdity of existence.
      For your awkwardness in dealing with the practical,
      Your ease in dealing with the metaphysical,
      Your abstract realism and lack of everyday realism.
      For your close circle of friends and fear of losing them,
      Your creativity and ecstasy
      Your oblivion to that “which is” and insight into that which “could be”
      Your great but underused abilities.
      For the belated appreciation of your gifts
      But lack of appreciation for those who come after you.
      For being advised instead of advising others
      For your insightful visions being forever dismissed
      For that which is prescient, unsaid, infinite in you.
      For the loneliness and strangeness of your ways.
      Be welcome psychoneurotics!


      1. It’s wonderful to see that someone sees so much value in the poem that they’d dedicate their time to it like you have, Curious! I have to admit I’m still partial to the original, though. It was in Dabrowski’s own voice, which counts for something, particularly in an artistic form. (It might be argued that some of his prose could benefit from being made more accessible…heck, it has been argued, and that’s why I created my the introductory pages I have here!)

        What you’ve really gotten me thinking now is that getting people to create their own artwork (poetry, prose, visual art, etc!) specifically and directly about positive disintegration could be a marvellous thing, and would bring more of the people who are most likely to find value in the theory in contact with it in a wonderful way. What do you think?

        Now I’m scheming…hmmmm….


        1. Thanks for taking the time to read the translation – it’s a bit presumptious I know… Did Dabrowski write the poem in English, or was it originally in Polish and then was translated and he approved of the translation? Reading the poem in both languages would add nuance to the writer’s intentions. As a native English speaker, I find the poem a bit inaccessible. ‘For your being treated instead of treating others’ – what does ‘treat’ mean in this context? Knowing the Polish word for ‘treat’ here would help might fill in the gaps in meaning.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hello Curious, and sorry for my delayed reply! I don’t know for sure which language it was originally written in. I also wondered about “treated”; perhaps he means with psychotherapy? It’s a good question.


          2. Yes treated as in psychotherapy makes sense.
            I wish I had asked my Dad about this poem – English as a second language was his field. Now I’ll never know.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dabrowski was also an NF, given how much his work resonates with the idealists out there! And I think “dark night of the soul” is absolutely a synonym for positive disintegration, in a more poetic sense! Disintegration, of course, gets at a key component of the theory, which is that you need to break down your present mental structures and rebuild them in a healthier way. It conveys the idea that sometimes being maladjusted is actually good for you, which is certainly contrary to a lot of what we hear. But after the dark night passes, we certainly hope to greet the sun!


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