The Meaning of Mental Illness

  • Mark L. Ruffalo University of South Florida


Contemporary psychiatry posits that the human problems defined as mental disorders are diseases of the nervous system despite a lack of objective, demonstrable biological pathology. This paper offers an existential psychoanalytic perspective on mental illness, incorporating the works of pioneering psychiatrists Thomas Szasz and Eric Berne. The problem of mental illness is defined in game-theoretical terms as a somatic protolanguage and strategy undertaken by the patient as a means of communication. The problems inherent with the biopsychiatric paradigm are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical implications.
Apr 25, 2018
How to Cite
RUFFALO, Mark L.. The Meaning of Mental Illness. International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 1, p. 3, apr. 2018. ISSN 1708-1696. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 feb. 2020.