1st Edition

Minding the Body The body in psychoanalysis and beyond

By Alessandra Lemma Copyright 2015
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    Minding the Body: The Body in Psychoanalysis and Beyond outlines the value of a psychoanalytic approach to understanding the body and its vicissitudes and for addressing these in the context of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. The chapters cover a broad but esoteric range of subjects that are not often discussed within psychoanalysis such as the function of breast augmentation surgery, the psychic origins of hair, the use made of the analyst’s toilet, transsexuality and the connection between dermatological conditions and necrophilic fantasies. The book also reaches ‘beyond the couch’ to consider the nature of reality television makeover show.

    The book is based on the Alessandra Lemma’s extensive clinical experience as a psychoanalyst and psychologist working in a range of public and private health care settings with patients for whom the body is the primary presenting problem or who have made unconscious use of the body to communicate their psychic pain. Minding the Body draws on detailed clinical examples that vividly illustrate how the author approaches these clinical presentations in the consulting room and, as such, provides insights to the practicing clinician that will support their attempts at formulating patients’ difficulties psychoanalytically and for how to helps such patients. It will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health workers, academics and literary readers interested in the body, sexuality and gender.

    Campbell, Preface. Introduction When the Body Speaks. Envy and the Maternal Body: The Psychodynamics of Cosmetic Surgery. Whose Skin is it Anyway? Some Reflections on the Psychic Function of Necrophilic Fantasies. An Order of Pure Decision: Growing up in a Virtual World and the Adolescent's Experience of Being-in-a-Body. Present Without Past: The Disruption of Temporal Integration in a Case of Transsexuality. The Body One Has and the Body One is: The Transsexual’s Need to be Seen. Trauma and the Body: A psychoanalytic Reading of Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In. The Body of the Analyst and the Analytic Setting: Reflections on the Embodied Setting and the Symbiotic Transference. Rapunzel Revisited: Untangling the Unconscious Meaning of Hair. Off the Couch, Into the Toilet: Exploring the Psychic Uses of the Analyst’s Toilet. Entrepreneurs of the Self: Some Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Psychic and Social Functions of Reality TV Makeover Shows.


    Alessandra Lemma is Director of the Psychological Therapies Development Unit at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. She is a Consultant Adult Psychotherapist at the Portman Clinic. She is also a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society, Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit at University College London and Honorary Professor of Psychological Therapies in the School of Health and Human Sciences at Essex University. She is the Clinical Director of the Psychological Interventions Research Centre at UCL, Visiting Professor at Istituto Winnicott, Sapienza University of Rome and Centro Winnicot, Rome. Professor Lemma is Editor of the New Library of Psychoanalysis book series (Routledge) and one of the regional editors for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. She has published extensively on psychoanalysis, the body and trauma.

    ‘Lemma has become one of the modern leaders in psychoanalysis. Her contribution to understanding this most fundamental of psychoanalytic concerns – our relationship to our bodies – has been immense and is growing. This book is an essential source of inspiration for clinicians to help them listen to and hear their patients’ deepest concerns more clearly. An extraordinary achievement.’– Peter Fonagy, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis and Head of the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, UK

    ‘In this insightful and innovative book Alessandra Lemma revisits and explores further some of the subjects she considered in Under the Skin…. The author is at her fluent best as she examines how we ascribe meaning to experience through our bodies, and attempts to illustrate how the analyst can help patients re-integrate mind and body… This is an innovative approach to a fascinating subject. I defy any book browser to peruse its tantalising chapter titles and not want to read the whole book. Minding the Body is a must read.’ – Antonino Ferro, President of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society and Consultant Associate Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is a training and supervising analyst in the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytical Association.