1st Edition

Psychoanalysis and Toileting Minding One’s Business

By Paul Marcus Copyright 2023
    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    Psychoanalysis and Toileting is an accessible book that delineates and interprets the psychological meanings of defecating and urinating in everyday life.

    Paul Marcus’ work gives the clinician an in-depth view of an activity that every patient and practitioner engage in and shows how not dealing with toileting in its wide range of social and practical contexts leaves out a huge aspect of the patient’s everyday experience. Drawing from psychoanalytic theory and practice, the author discusses such subjects as constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, adult female incontinence, toilet cursing, public toilet graffiti and toilet humor. The book also considers the personal meaning of urinating and defecating as seen in men suffering from an enlarged prostate, in ‘excremental assault’ in the Nazi concentration camps, and in dreaming. Marcus considers not only what is typically negative about these experiences, but what can be seen as positive in terms of growth and development for the ordinary person. The book is illustrated throughout with clinical vignettes and observations taken from the author’s private practice.

    Psychoanalysis and Toileting will be a key text for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists in practice and in training. It will also be relevant to other mental health practitioners.

    1. Psychoanalysis and the Toilet
    2. On Constipation, Diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    3. Adult Female Incontinence
    4. Toilet Cursing
    5. Public Toilet Graffiti
    6. Toilet Humor
    7. The Personal Meaning of Urinating and Defecating


    Paul Marcus is a training and supervisory analyst at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis in New York City and Co-Chairperson of the discussion group Psychoanalysis and Spirituality at the American Psychoanalytic Association.

    "A much-needed work, exploring the psychology of toilet functions on many levels: physical, psychological, social. At a time when many feel the world turning into a huge toilet in which all kinds of attitudes and emotions are being evacuated via war and group tensions, a serious exploration of individual and social evacuation functions could not be more welcome. This work examines many examples of urinary-defecation problems throughout a lifetime coupled with keen, pertinent clinical work and suggestions. Psychic toilets, world toilets, ordinary physical toilets and their difficulties are brought into focus with fresh acumen in ways aimed to help, challenge, and enrich." - Michael Eigen, PhD; author, The Challenge of Being Human, The Sensitive Self, and Contact with the Depth