Some Features of the Women’s Performances
While the women conformed generally to the structure of a psychotherapy session, they did so in their own ways. In common culture, we would say they acted individually. They carried their parts in ways that were in some measure particular for them and in some measure typical of people of their class, background, and diagnostic category. Three kinds of such format variation in the performances of Mrs. V and Marge will be discussed in this section:
1. One kind of variation was particular to their backgrounds and social role. Both were southern Italian-American, Catholic, female, and unmarried. Marge was a late adolescent, Mrs. V a middle-aged widow. They showed behavioral features characteristic for these determinants and we can presume that they could not have changed these features at will. I will call these kinds of features style. These features are of special communicational significance. They provide information about the backgrounds of a participant.
2. Other features of the women’s performances were changeable, and, in fact, did change throughout the session. They appeared to be in the service of particular plans or purposes which were regulated by larger contexts of their lives. I will call these variations tactical.
3. Still other features of their performances were not typical for women, for Catholics, or for southern Italian-Americans. These features were deviant — not merely foreign or alien. The deviant styles are not, however, rare or unknown. They are also customary and, to some extent, predictable in people classified as schizophrenics.
I cannot, of course, make rigid distinctions on the basis of the data of one transaction. We would have to have comparable filmed transactions involving many southern Italian-Americans, for instance, to attribute certain variations to ethnic background with any degree of certainty. And it is also hard to say definitely that a given behavior is schizophrenic or tactical. In fact it can be argued that schizophrenic behavior is tactical. However, some approximate distinctions can be made from general cultural and psychiatric experience. I will devote one chapter in this section to each of these variations.
The data of this section provide us with an opportunity to speak about the psychodynamics and neuropsychology of communication. So in each chapter I will comment on these matters. After describing styles (Chapter 8), I will discuss how these gave indication of the tactical variations. In Chapter 9, I will discuss theories of cognitive processes and the neuropsychology of information processing. Then in Chapter 10, when deviant behavior is described, I will discuss theories of the nature and development of schizophrenia.