From Dualism to Oneness in Psychoanalysis: A Zen Perspective on the Mind-Body Question, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

From Dualism to Oneness in Psychoanalysis

A Zen Perspective on the Mind-Body Question, 1st Edition

By Yorai Sella


276 pages

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From Dualism to Oneness in Psychoanalysis: A Zen Perspective on the Mind-Body Question focuses on the shift in psychoanalytic thought, from a view of mind-body dualism to a contemporary non-dualistic perspective. Exploring this paradigm shift, Yorai Sella examines the impact of the work of psychoanalysts and researchers, such as Winnicott, Bion, Daniel Stern and Kohut, and delineates the contributions of three major schools of psychoanalytic thought in which the non-dualistic view is exemplified: (1) intersubjective; (2) neuro-psychoanalytic; and (3) mystically inclined psychoanalysis.

Reaching beyond the constraints of dualism, Sella delineates the interdisciplinary approaches leading to psychoanalysis's paradigm shift. Focusing on the unique contribution of Zen-Buddhism, the book draws on Ehei Dōgen's philosophy to substantiate the non-duality of subject and object, body and mind - ultimately leading from alienation and duality to what Bion has termed "at one-ment". The way in which psychoanalytic theory and practice may develop further along these lines is demonstrated throughout the book in a variety of clinical vignettes.

This book will inform the practice of all psychoanalysts, mental health professionals, psychotherapists and clinicians interested in mind-body issues in psychotherapy, in the philosophy of psychoanalysis, and in East-West dialogue.


"In this deeply thoughtful and scholarly work, Yorai Sella synthesizes concepts from key psychoanalytic theorists, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, Johnson and Lakoff’s linguistic philosophy, and Buddhist philosophy (with a particular emphasis on the extraordinary teachings of 13th century Japanese Zen master, Ehei Dogen), to provide a remarkably creative and fertile framework for transcending the mind-body dualism inherent in both Western philosophy and psychoanalytic theory. Readers of this volume will find it to be a richly rewarding and thought provoking experience, and will want to return to it time and time again."

Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D.Professor of Psychology, The New School for Social Research and author, Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapies (2012)

"Yorai Sella’s book provides an excellent discussion of the relationship between psyche and soma in psychoanalysis. With remarkable precision, Sella outlines and challenges some of the inherent shortcomings of current psychoanalytic theories. His rigorous conceptual framework, which employs interdisciplinary intertextuality and incorporates Zen-Buddhist philosophy into psychoanalysis, offers an overarching foundation for a "unitary turn", a paradigm shift that moves away from dualistic views of the mind-body relationship to posit a dual intra-psychic/inter-psychic unitive experience. Sella’s clear, fluid style helps readers understand complex arguments and guides them in an outstanding study of mind-body selfhood".

Yolanda Gampel, Ph.D, Professor in Tel-Aviv University, a training analyst, past president of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society and former vice-president of the European Federation of Psychoanalysis.

Table of Contents



Chapter One: A mysterious leap

Chapter Two: Mysterious leaps: from psychosomatics to the psyche-soma

Chapter Three: The ascension of the body: representation and presentation

Chapter Four: Unitive experience and a unitary turn

Chapter Five: The unitary turn: overarching conceptual structures

Chapter Six: Non-duality in Zen-Buddhism: implications on the mind-body question in contemporary psychoanalysis

Chapter Seven: The body of the Buddhist 'body-mind'

Chapter Eight: Embodiment and interpretation - not two

Chapter Nine: A non-dualistic body-mind-set in psychoanalysis?

Chapter Ten: From duality to oneness: Zen contributions to psyche-soma meta-theory in contemporary psychoanalysis

Conclusion and future directions

About the Author

Yorai Sella, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, a psychoanalytic and Humanistic-integrative psychotherapist and a member of Tel Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Israel. He co-directs the East-West Integrative Psychotherapy training in the School of Social Work and teaches in the Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. He has practiced Tai-Chi and martial arts for the past 30 years and is a student of Zen-Buddhism.

About the Series

Psyche and Soul

Psychoanalysis, Spirituality and Religion in Dialogue

The Psyche and Soul book series explores the intersection of psychoanalysis, spirituality and religion. By promoting dialogue, it provides a platform for the vast and expanding interconnections, mutual influences and points of divergence amongst these disciplines. Extending beyond western religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the series includes Eastern religions, contemplative studies, mysticism and philosophy. By bridging gaps, opening the vistas and responding to increasing societal yearnings for more spirituality in psychoanalysis, the book series aims to cross these disciplines, fostering a more fluid interpenetration of ideas.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

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