Idiomatic Expressions and Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis : Relational and Inter-Subjective Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Idiomatic Expressions and Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis
Relational and Inter-Subjective Perspectives

ISBN 9780815361008
Published March 25, 2018 by Routledge
130 Pages

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Book Description

Idiomatic Expressions and Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis examines how verbal and non-verbal language is used in the consulting room, and how those different modes of communication interact to provide a more comprehensive picture of the patient's relational world. It is the product of a comprehensive research project exploring the affinity between idiomatic expressions and somatic behaviors and symptoms. Idiomatic expressions are viewed as bridging the gap between somatic sensations and mental experiences.

Ravit Raufman deals with one of the fundamental aspects in human life- the way our behavior is governed by unconscious primary experiences, suggesting methods by which to decipher patient behaviors that are apparently detached and unreasonable. The first part presents case studies of people who enact and revive verbal idiomatic expressions through their behavior. The second describes how therapists use non-verbal mechanisms, operating in their own minds, to understand their patients’ inner lives. Based on relational and inter-subjective approaches in psychoanalysis, the case studies illustrate the various ways in which the therapist's subjective experience is "objectively" used to learn about patients’ subjective relational experience, so as to verbally formulate experiences that are pre-verbal. Raufman combines Freudian ideas regarding the affinity between somatic symptoms and verbal expressions, with a contemporary relational perspective. The book combines scientific findings with a narrative style, including life-stories of various individuals, as well as a description of the therapist's own subjective experience. 

This book will appeal to clinical psychologists and psychoanalytic psychotherapists as well as anyone interested in understanding human psyche and behavior.

Table of Contents

Prologue Section I: From Language to Experience CHAPTER ONE: Below the Surface CHAPTER TWO: That Train Has Left the Station CHAPTER THREE: What's the Matter? CHAPTER FOUR: Digging into the Past Section II: From Experience to Language CHAPTER FIVE: It does not Smell Good CHAPTER SIX: A Dancer who does Not Dance CHAPTER SEVEN: Travel Far to Draw Near CHAPTER EIGHT: On the Record

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Ravit Raufman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, group therapist and senior lecturer at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Humanity, Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, Israel. She also teaches at the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Social Welfare. She is Member of the Emili Sagol Creative Arts Therapies Research Center. Her research deals mostly with dreams, fairy tales, group therapy and relational psychoanalysis.


‘Raufman beautifully demonstrates how the therapist may bring to life the "dead" metaphors and commonplace idioms through which patients enact trauma and need. A persuasive contribution to the relational literature on healing methodologies.’-Richard Billow, author of Relational Group Psychotherapy: From Basic Assumptions to Passion (2003), Resistance, Rebellion, and Refusal in Groups: The 3 Rs (2010), and Developing Nuclear Ideas: Relational Group Psychotherapy (2016).

'In this intriguing book Ravit Raufman offers us a new avenue into the complex and idiomatic world of our patient’s symptoms. Weaving together Freudian and Jungian theory with the riches of literature, poetry and belles-lettres, she illustrates the links between the primary unconscious, sensorial realm and symbolized, verbal language. Her case studies come alive as Raufman uncovers the unique language and expression contained in her patient’s unthought behavior and symptoms. The clarity of Raufman’s writing and the sheer delight she takes in understanding her patients will make this an entertaining and delightful read for clinicians of all levels.'-Robert Grossmark, Ph.D, ABPP, Adjunct Clinical Professor and Consultant, The New York University Postdoctoral Program In Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy.