Disorders of communication, like neuroses of which they are signs, occur in everyone at various times. Until recently observers have focused on the counted or interpreted contents of communications rather than on their patterns. Patterns of communication are structured indices of character and personality observable in the parameters of verbal, gestural, and behavioral modalities. When ego boundary functions are weakened as in the psychoses, distorted communications become intensified and reveal their latent more or less specific patterns. They are especially clear in depressions.
With several colleagues I have observed the phenomena of depressions by isolating their component affective and behavioral traits and studying their combinations.1 Actually such an observational and descriptive approach constituted a study of depressed patient's communications through verbal and behavioral messages to one other person (the interviewing-observer) and to several persons constituting the small-group structure of the family or hospital nursing