Positive disintegration

What is Positive Disintegration?

A dear friend introduced me to the concept of positive disintegration. It is a personality development theory elaborated by the psychologist Kazimierz Dąbrowski in 1964. It involves the breakdown of previous ways of thinking and being. Positive disintegration leads to the integration of new and more advanced ways of being.

According to Dąbrowski, it is described in five stages:

STAGE 1 – Primary Integration

This stage refers to a state of psychological unity and balance where one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are aligned. This stage feels harmonious.

STAGE 2 – Unilevel Disintegration

This stage consists in the breakdown of the first stage. It can feel as an existential crisis. I have been through that disintegration and felt I had lost meaning in life. I was questionning my beliefs, values, and behaviors. And I was seeking out new ways of thinking and being.

STAGE 3 – Multilevel Disintegration

This stage consists in the integration of new ways of thinking and being. It is like becoming a new version of the Unitaur one has always been. In that stage, reflections are more profound. One gets deeper as one integrates new insights. It can feel like finally getting out of the crisis. However, in multilevel disintegration, one does not have full control over one’s development. One still goes through conflictual moments.

STAGE 4 – Directed Multilevel Disintegration

This stage involves a deeper level of self-awareness as one begins to see themselves in a multi-dimensional way. In that stage, one’s behavior becomes less reactive and automatic.

STAGE 5 – Secondary Integration

This final stage implies an higher level of psychological development. There, one can feel harmonious, but differently than the first stage. One is able to see themselves in a universal way.

From the perpsective of my friend, the process of positive disintegration is essential to one’s psychological development. It is a means of self-actualization that leads to increased well-being. It makes one more creative and moral. However, it can be a difficult and challenging process that one may label as an existential crisis. Positive disintegration may involve moments of discomfort and turmoil. It may bring a lot of deep questions.