BELLE INDIFFERENCE

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A term originally used by Pierre Janet to characterize the air of unconcern manifested by hysteric patients toward their physical symptoms. Instead of arousing anxiety or distress, a paralyzed arm or loss of voice is accepted with an outward calm that seems to bespeak inner satisfaction. The reason for this reaction is probably that the disability actually does produce a measure of satisfaction, since it helps to resolve a conflict, relieve anxiety, and usually brings “secondary gains” in the form of sympathy, attention, and domination over others.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "BELLE INDIFFERENCE," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/belle-indifference/ (accessed December 5, 2021).

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