Experiencing the Body : A Psychoanalytic Dialogue on Psychosomatics book cover
1st Edition

Experiencing the Body
A Psychoanalytic Dialogue on Psychosomatics

Edited By

Jacques Press

ISBN 9780367181574
Published April 11, 2019 by Routledge
170 Pages

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Book Description

Experiencing the Body: A Psychoanalytic Dialogue on Psychosomatics offers a range of perspectives on somatic illness, highlighting key points of convergence and difference between a range of psychoanalytic perspectives, to find a new understanding of this important issue.

Including contributions from experienced clinicians, each chapter presents contributions from two authors representing different points of view, before concluding with commentary from a third. It features discussion on key theoretical issues, including drive and affects, the role of the ideal ego, and the function of symbolisation, but also case studies of somatic patients, covering issues around depression and trauma, and exploring similarities and differences between somatic and borderline patients. Key treatment issues are also described such as psychosomatic investigation and the issue of transference and countertransference.

The result of a working party on psychosomatics of the European Psychoanalytical Federation, this unique book not only asks whether somatic illness arises from an impoverishment of the psyche or is primarily a form of communication through or by the body, but also tries to go beyond this classical opposition. It will appeal to any psychoanalyst or psychotherapist interested in this contentious and fascinating area.

Table of Contents


Jacques Press

Section I: Two cases

Marina Perris-Myttas, Fotis Bobos

Section II: Clinical pictures

Chapter 1: Depression and psychosomatics

Jacques Press, Nick Temple, Eva Schmid-Gloor

Chapter 2: Trauma and its effects

Fotis Bobos, Jörg Frommer, Bérengère de Senarclens

Chapter 3: Somatic and borderline states

Bérengère de Senarclens, Christian Seulin, Marina Perris-Myttas

Section III: Treatment

Chapter 4: Psychosomatic investigation and treatment

Eva Schmid-Gloor, Jacques Press, Christian Seulin

Chapter 5: Transference and countertransference

Marina Perris-Myttas, Eva Schmid-Gloor, Luigi Solano

Section IV: Theoretical issues

Chapter 6: Drives and affects

Marina Perris-Myttas, Christian Seulin, Jörg Frommer

Chapter 7: Ideal ego, ego ideal and superego

Bérengère de Senarclens, Nick Temple, Fotis Bobos

Chapter 8: Symbolisation

Luigi Solano, Fotis Bobos, Nick Temple

Chapter 9: Defence mechanisms and levels of integration

Luigi Solano, Jörg Frommer, Jacques Press


Jacques Press

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Jacques Press is a teaching and supervising analyst at the Swiss Psychoanalytical Society and Chair of the Working Party on Psychosomatics of the European Psychoanalytical Federation. He was awarded the Pierre Marty Psychosomatic Award in 1997 and is the author of two books and numerous articles.


"This is an important collection on the subject of psychosomatic disorders as seen in psychoanalysis. Its essentially pragmatic approach and broad-minded view is to be welcomed. The subject is not only very well discussed, it is timely: the body-mind and mind-body issues are being revisited in the context of psychosomatic disorders and what might be called soma-psychic disorders. This book is a welcome addition to the growing literature and should be read by all those interested in this vital area." --Ronald Britton, Distinguished Member British Psychoanalytical Society, IPA Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award 2013

"This volume demonstrates convincingly the psychoanalytic process as an unconscious psychosomatic communication between the bodies of patients and psychoanalysts. This means that remote analysis without this basic essential, without the presence of a body, is something different from psychoanalysis." --Prof. Dr. Martin Teising, President of the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin (2012-2018), European Representative at the IPA-Board

"It is clear to all those who have a bit of an interest in the theoretical configuration of international psychoanalysis that the planet "psychoanalysis" is under threat of babelisation. Each continent, each country even, if not each society, develops ‘its own’ model of psychoanalysis and even though ‘transversal’ theories thankfully exist, the latter however remain highly stamped with the cultural traits of the country where they are spoken. This is why when nine analysts from six different countries decide to meet regularly to talk about their respective clinical practices, such a project deserves to be praised and circulated accordingly. It should perhaps even be held as a model of what we must strive to develop so that European, if not global psychoanalysis, may endure as a project endowed with enough unity. As we can surmise, this is not an easy undertaking, but it is a necessary one, as necessary as the need to think about the obstacles encountered in the course of the exchanges. The very object of this book is to embark upon this adventure and account for it as accurately and honestly as possible. The fact that it should have come together on the topic of psychosomatics is probably not a coincidence: the body, the clinic of the body, the language of the body, might well aptly provide the kind of transversality required for this initial endeavour which, let us hope, will inspire many more." --Prof. René Roussillon, Training and supervising analyst of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society, Maurice Bouvet Prize 1991, Sigourney IPA Prize 2016, Member of the Research in Psychoanalysis Committee and Psychoanalysis at the University Committee of the IPA