Contemporary psychoanalysis has devoted so much of its attention to relational and interpersonal aspects of psychic life that questions have begun to emerge regarding the place of the body and bodily experience in our psychological worlds. Relational Perspectives on the Body addresses these questions in exemplary fashion. Contemporary relational theorists synthesize a variety of theoretical trends and influences - including feminism and postmodernism - in order to provide innovative relational models of psyche-soma integration. Throughout the book, contributors pay attention to the analysand's and the analyst's experiences as they devise original technical responses to the multifaceted ways in which bodily experiences enter into the relational matrix of psychoanalytic treatment. In the process, contributors take up subjects that are seldom addressed in the clinical literature, including breast cancer in the analyst, psychoanalytic treatment of Munchausen's Syndrome, physical deformity, and musculoskeletal back pain. The final three chapters, by Looker, Balamuth, and Anderson, respectively, grew out of a study group that continues to investigate the relationship between somatic and symbolized experience.
The editors are well equipped to undertake this project. Lewis Aron is a leading relational theorist and clinical analyst, and Frances Sommer Anderson has employed a psychoanalytically informed approach to treating musculoskeletal back pain and other somatic symptoms for 18 years. The editors have enlisted original contributions from an excellent group of colleagues, placing Relational Perspectives on the Body at the forefront of the revival of interest in the body and bodily experience in psychoanalytic theory and practice.
"In recent years, psychoanalytic investigation has focused so extensively on the intersubjective and interrelational that we could lose sight of the importance of bodily experience and bodily phenomena. In this timely collection, Aron and Anderson have brought together clinicians writing at the leading edge of psychoanalytic scholarship to examine the place of the body within the intersubjective context. All of us have a psychosomatic potential, and in Relational Perspectives on the Body psychoanalysis continues to struggle with the body/mind matrix, the role of the body in self-organization, gender issues and the body, and the meaning of bodily expressions on the psychoanalytic stage. This book will be of immense interest not only to psychoanalysts and other mental health professionals, but to everyone intrigued by the workings of the psychosoma and the body-mind relationship."
- Joyce McDougall, Ed.D., International Psychoanalytic Association
"Occasionally we hear talk of a book in our field that is destined to influence the practice of psychoanalysis as much by its therapeutic 'rightness' as by its conceptual persuasiveness. Aron and Anderson's Relational Perspectives on the Body will be such a book: a masterful blend of essays on mind/body wholeness and its inseparability from the self/other wholeness that links the intersubjective world of patient and analyst in a shared psychosomatic reality. Like a stalking lioness, each astonishingly lithe and muscular chapter leaps at the mind of the reader - especially an unwary reader anticipating a casual intellectual stroll. Scholarly and timely, this volume offers a clinical approach toward working with bodily states of mind in a relational context that, I predict, will inform the thinking of all analysts for years to come."
- Philip M. Bromberg, Ph.D., Author, Standing in the Spaces (Analytic Press, 2001)
Introduction - Lewis Aron
I. Relational Constructions of the Body
The Clinical Body and the Reflexive Mind - Lewis Aron
Psychic Envelopes and Sonorous Baths: Siting the Body in Relational Theory and Clinical Practice - Adrienne Harris
Polyglot Bodies: Thinking Through the Relational - Muriel Dimen
II. Linking Mind and Body
The Embodiment of Desire: Relinking the BodyMind Within the Analytic Dyad - Harriet Kimble Wrye
The Body-Mind: Psychopathology of Its Ownership - Linda Gunsberg and Isaac Tylim
III. The Material body in the Relational Matrix
Cancer as a Factitious Disorder (Munchausen Syndrome) as Related to Body Self-Image and Object Relations in a Borderline Patient - Kerstin Kupfermann
Dissociation and Physical Difference: The Case of a "Short" Person Transformed-- Barbara K. Eisold
Breast Cancer in the Analyst: Body Lessons - Barbara Pizer
IV. The Place of Bodily Experience in the Psychoanalytic Process
Listening to the Body: Somatic Representations of Dissociated Memory - Karen Hopenwasser
"Mama, Why Don't Your Feet touch the Ground?": Staying with the Body and the Healing Moment in Psychoanalysis - Tamsin Looker
Re-membering the Body: A Psychoanalytic Study of Presence and Absence of the Lived Body - Ron Balamuth
Psychic Elaboration of Musculoskeletal Back Pain: Ellen's Story - Frances Sommer Anderson
The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.
We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.
Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.