Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 15, Issue 2 (December 2022)


A Gestaltic analysis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and of the associated Auditory Verbal Hallucinations

Carlo Magistri

Currently, Auditory Verbal Hallucinations (AVHs), which characterize several psychopathological conditions in psychiatric practice, appear to have an unclear etiopathogenetic definition.
In recent years, two hypotheses have been theorized: the first one focuses on the notion of trauma, while the second conceptualizes AVHs as part of a psychotic disorder. The correspondent paradigmatic clinical entities are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Schizophrenic Disorders, respectively.
The aim of this article is to partially clarify the etiopathogenesis of AVHs. We carried out an analysis of PTSD and related phenomena, such as flashbacks and AVHs, through Gestalt Analysis and the theory of Microgenesis. The abortion that occurs during the Gestaltic process strongly alters the perceptual outcome, causing a more or less intense alteration of the subject’s state of consciousness which can lead to dissociative-like phenomena, fueling both flashbacks and AVHs. Such abortion can be caused by the traumatic events and the concurrent affective state of the subject.
We conclude that on the etiopathogenetic level AVHs find their intrapsychic basis in dissociative post-traumatic processes and not in psychotic disorders.



Gestalt, PTSD, schizophrenia, microgenesis, hallucinations, dissociation


Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2022; 15(2): 33-44

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Received on April 22, 2023
Accepted on May 11, 2023
Firstly published online on June 28, 2023