Schizophrenia and the double bind

Research paper by Malcolm L. Hayward

Indexed on: 01 Jan '60Published on: 01 Jan '60Published in: Psychiatric Quarterly


This paper was presented at a symposium on the subject of psychotherapy for the schizophrenias. The author believes that a valuable recent addition to our therapeutic armamentarium is the concept of the “double bind,” as described by Bateson and his colleagues. This hypothesis assumes that the mother of a schizophrenic patient has repeatedly communicated to her child ideas, feelings and demands that are mutually incompatible. This forces the patient to deny his developing personality, so that he loses his individuality and becomes bound to the mother. A clinical example is described.