Body-Mind Dissociation in Psychoanalysis: Development after Bion, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Body-Mind Dissociation in Psychoanalysis

Development after Bion, 1st Edition

By Riccardo Lombardi


226 pages

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The conflict and dissociation between the Body and the Mind have determinant implications in the context of our current clinical practice, and are an important source of internal and relational disturbances. Body-Mind Dissociation in Psychoanalysis proposes the concept as a new hypothesis, different from traumatic dissociation or states of splitting. 

This approach opens the door to a clinical confrontation with extreme forms of mental disturbance, such as psychosis or borderline disorders, and strengthens the relational power of the analytic encounter, through a focus on the internal sensory/emotional axis in both analyst and analysand. The book details this importance of the analyst’s intrasubjective relationship with the analysand in constructing new developmental horizons, starting from the body-mind exchange of the two participants.

Body-Mind Dissociation in Psychoanalysis will be of use to students, beginners in psychotherapy, mental health practitioners and seasoned psychoanalysts.


‘What seems to us unique is Riccardo Lombardi’s use of his own body, of embodied experiences in the analysand and in the entanglement of both analyst and analysand bodies in fantasies shared and unshared. His approach is designed to teach us confidence in our creative listening, caution in what we imagine we know, and compassionate identification with patient’s suffering and our own. Lombardi strikes us as an analyst determined on the deepest possible encounter with the analysand’s subjectivity at unconscious, somatic, barely figurable levels. At the same time, he is always mindful of the interdependence of consciousnesses across persons inside the consulting room and in the wider world of families and groups.’ - Adrienne Harris and Lewis Aron, Editors of the Relational Perspectives Book Series

‘Body-Mind Dissociation in Psychoanalysis is an immensely useful handbook for the practicing clinician, a guide to recognition of the crucial role of mind-body dissociation in various forms of psychopathology, as well as a compendium of helpful suggestions concerning the techniques by which mind-body dissociation can be addressed and repaired.’ - Owen Renik, Former Editor of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly and author of Practical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and Patients.

‘Body-Mind Dissociation in Psychoanalysis is a most original contribution to the psychoanalytic literature: the reader is asked to adopt a new orientation, as if someone had suddenly changed all the subway lines and their stops. This book is extremely rich in clinical presentations, in which the analyst’s interventions always surprise his patients, not to mention his readers. Like those very few authors who are able to turn our psychoanalytic knowledge upside down - as is the case with James Grotstein and Thomas Ogden - Riccardo Lombardi compels the reader to make a quantum leap. He opens the door to what has up to now been unthinkable, exploring the proto-sensorial levels of the analytic relationship in a unique way.’ - Antonino Ferro, President of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society and Consultant Associate Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

Table of Contents

Foreword Introduction 1. Body-Mind Dissociation and Transference onto the Body 2. Visual Power, Emotions and Mental Growth : A clinical essay on some of Bion’s earliest psychosomatic intuitions 3. Intersubjectivity and the Body 4. Primitive Mental States and the Body. A personal view of AB Ferrari’s Concrete Original Object 5. The Body in the Analytic Session: Focusing on the Body-Mind Link 6. Body and Mind in Adolescence 7. Working with the Body-Mind Dissociation in Three Psychoanalytic Sessions 8. The Body, Feelings and the Unheard Music of the Senses 9. The Hat on top of the Volcano: Bion’s O and Ferrari’s Body-Mind Relationship 10. Bodily Claustrophobia and the Music: A Psychoanalytic Note on Beethoven’s Fidelio 11. Conclusion: Art, Experience and Harmonization of the Body-Mind Relationship

About the Author

Riccardo Lombardi is a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist and MD. He has a full-time private practice in Rome and teaches at the Roman Psychoanalytic Institute of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). He is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society. Among his published works is the book Formless Infinity. Clinical Exploration of Matte Blanco and Bion, published by Routledge in 2015.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health