( In the process of doing some research for a friend with a gifted child, came across the work of Dabrowski. Pretty dang clear description of the ET Klannish and dittoheaders, stuck on level one... ) Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration Level I: Primary Integration As outlined above, the first level is called primitive or primary integration. People at this level are often influenced primarily by either prominent first factor (heredity/impulse) and/or second factor (social environment) forces. The majority of people at Level I are integrated at the environmental or social level (Dabrowski called them average people); however, many also exhibit shades of both impulse and socialization. Dabrowski distinguished the two subgroups of Level I by degree: "the state of primary integration is a state contrary to mental health. A fairly high degree of primary integration is present in the average person; a very high degree of primary integration is present in the psychopath" (Dabrowski 1964, p. 121). Marked by selfishness and egocentricism (both reticent and explicit), those at level one developement generally seek self-fulfilment above all, justifying there pursuits through a sort of "its all about me" thinking; or, more simply put, they adhere strongly to the phrase "the ends justifies the means", sometimes disregarding the sevarity of the "means". Many people who are considered "leaders" often fall into this category.  Level II: Unilevel Disintegration The character of level II is reflected in its name: unilevel disintegration. The prominent feature of this level is an initial, brief and often intense crisis or series of crises. Crises are spontaneous and only occur on one level (and often involve only one dimension). These crises involve alternatives that may appear to be different but ultimately are on the same level. Unilevel disintegration occurs during developmental crises such as puberty or menopause, in periods of difficulty in handling some stressful external event, or under psychological and psychopathological conditions such as nervousness and psychoneurosis. Unilevel disintegration consists of processes on a single structural and emotional level; there is a prevalence of automatic dynamisms with only slight self consciousness and self-control (Dabrowski 1964, p. 6). Conflicts on the same level (horizontal) produce ambitendencies and ambivalences: the person is equally attracted by different but equivalent choices on the same level (ambitendencies) and is not able to decide what to do because he or she has no real preference between the choices (ambivalences). If developmental forces are strong enough, ultimately, the person is thrust into an existential crisis: one's social rationales no longer account for one's experiences and there are no alternative explanations. During this phase, existential despair is the predominant emotion. The resolution of this phase begins as individually chosen values begin to replace social mores that have been ingrained by rote and are integrated into a new hierarchy of personal values. These new values often conflict with the person's previous social values. Many of the status quo explanations for the "way things are," learned through education and from the social order, collapse under conscious, individual scrutiny. This causes more conflicts focused on the person's analysis of his or her own reactions to the world at large and of the behavior of self and others. Common behaviors and the ethics of the prevailing social order come to be seen as inadequate, wrong or hypocritical. Positive maladjustment prevails. For Dabrowski, these crises represent a strong potential for development toward personal growth and mental health. Using a positive definition, mental health reflects more than social conformity: it involves a careful, personal examination of the world and of one's values, leading to the development of an individual personality. Level II is a transitional period. Dabrowski said you either fall back, move ahead or end negatively, in suicide or psychosis. "Prolongation of unilevel disintegration often leads to reintegration on a lower level, to suicidal tendencies, or to psychosis" (Dabrowski 1964, p. 7). The transition from Level II to Level III involves a fundamental shift that requires a phenomenal amount of energy. This period is the crossroads of development: from here one must either progress or regress. The struggle between Dabrowski's three factors reflects this transitional crisis: "Do I follow my instincts (first factor), my teachings (second factor) or my heart (third factor)?" The developmental answer is to transform one's lower instincts (automatic reactions like anger) into positive motivation, to resist rote and social answers, and to listen to one's inner sense of what one ought to do.  Level III: Spontaneous Multilevel Disintegration Level III describes a new type of conflict: a vertical conflict between two alternatives that are not simply different, but that exist on different levels. One is literally higher and the other is lower in comparison. These vertical conflicts initially arise from involuntary perceptions of higher versus lower choices in life (because they are involuntary, Dabrowski called it spontaneous multilevel disintegration). You just look at something, maybe for the 1000th time (to use the words of G. K. Chesterton), and it strikes you â you see this one thing differently and once you do, it changes things. You can no longer "go back and see it the way you did before." Dabrowski called this vertical dimension multilevelness. Multilevelness is a gradual realization of the "possibility of the higher" (a phrase Dabrowski used frequently) and of the subsequent contrasts between the higher and the lower in life. These vertical comparisons often illustrate the lower, actual behavior of a person in contrast to higher, imagined ideals and alternative idealized choices. Dabrowski believed that the authentic individual would choose the higher path as the clear and obvious one to follow (erasing the ambivalences and ambitendencies of unilevel conflicts). IF the person's actual behavior subsequently falls short of the ideal, internal disharmony and a drive to review and reconstruct one's life often follow. Multilevelness thus represents a new and powerful type of conflict, a conflict that is developmental in Dabrowski's approach. These vertical conflicts are critical in leading to autonomy and advanced personality growth. If the person is to achieve higher levels, the shift to multilevelness must occur. If a person does not have the developmental potential to move into a multilevel view, then he or she will fall back from the crises of Level II to reintegrate at Level I. In the shift to multilevelness, the horizontal (unilevel), stimulus-response model of life is replaced by a vertical and hierarchical analysis. This vertical view becomes anchored by one's emerging individual value structure, and all events are seen in relation to personal ideals. These personal value ideals become the personality ideal: how the person wants to live his or her life. As events in life are seen in relation to this multilevel, vertical view, it becomes impossible to support positions that favor the lower course when higher goals can be identified (or imagined).