When the Body Speaks : A British-Italian Dialogue book cover
1st Edition

When the Body Speaks
A British-Italian Dialogue

ISBN 9781032055534
Published November 15, 2021 by Routledge
312 Pages

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Book Description

This book is based on the work done by a group of British and Italian psychoanalysts who have been meeting twice yearly since 2003 to study clinically the relationship between the mind and the body of their patients.

The analytical dyad became the focus of a dialectical movement between body and mind and between subject and object. Containing contributions from a range of distinguished British and Italian analysts, this book covers such key topics as somatic symptoms, the embodied unconscious, bodily expressions of affect, sexuality, violence, self-harm, suicide attempts, hypochondria, hysteria, anorexia and bulimia, and splits and fragmentation associated with the body. The theoretical understanding is inspired by various psychoanalytic theoreticians, including Freud, M. Klein, Winnicott and Bion and their theories on sexuality, infantile sexuality, libido, aggressiveness, death instinct, Oedipus complex and mother–child relationship.

Offering new advances in theoretical thinking and practical applications for clinical work, this book will be essential for all psychoanalysts and mental health clinicians interested in understanding serious mental disturbance that is represented in the body.

Table of Contents


Ronny Jaffè and Donald Campbell

Chapter 1

Traces of the Early Relationship in the Corpus of Freud’s Work: A re-reading

Giuseppina Antinucci

Chapter 2

The "Psychoanalytical" Body and its Clinical Implication

Sarantis Thanopulos

Chapter 3

Transmission of Somatic and Sensory States in the Psychoanalytical Relationship

Ronny Jaffè

Chapter 4


Maria Colazzo Hendriks

Chapter 5

Access to the Embodied Unconscious through Reverie and Metaphor

Benedetta Guerrini Degl’Innocenti

Chapter 6

The Body in Psychoanalysis

Cristiano Rocchi

Chapter 7

The Body in the Consulting Room: Italian-British conversations

Barbara Piovano

Chapter 8

When the Body Speaks: Bodily expressions of unrepresented affects

Luigi Caparrotta

Chapter 9

A Skin of One’s Own: On boundaries, the skin, and feminine sexuality

Patricia Grieve

Chapter 10

"Seized With A Savage Woe": Attacks on the vitality of the body of a suicidal young man

Joan Schächter

Chapter 11

Physical Violence and its Depiction by a Male Adolescent

Donald Campbell

Chapter 12

The Hidden Secret - Ego Distortion in Facial Deformity:

Some reflections on the analysis of an adolescent boy

Bernard Roberts


Ronny Jaffè and Donald Campbell

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Donald Campbell is a Distinguished Fellow and Past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society and former Secretary General of the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Ronny Jaffè has been President of the Milanese Centre of Psychoanalysis since 2016. He is a Training Analyst (SPI IPA), former Vice President of the European Psychoanalytical Federation (2007–11) and former member of the IPA Ethical Committee (2012–19). He is the author of several publications.


"This wonderful book explores to depth the unending unconscious effort of human beings trying to recover unity and harmony in their own sense of self. It investigates how to repair the split and lacks which detached minds from bodies, creating tragic feelings of subjective discontinuity and alienation. An innovative experiment of scientific cross-fertilization, by merging creatively for 14 years two different analytic perspectives thanks to the joint theoretical-clinical research of a 'resilient' British-Italian working group, generates here a fascinating, unexpected and much more integrated vision on the soma-psyche issue. This book confirms the immense power of cross-fertilization in psychoanalysis, and I entusiastically recommend it to the readers." - Stefano Bolognini, Past President of the International Psychoanalytical Association


"When the Body Speaks is based on a series of dialogues held along 14 years between analysts from the British Psychoanalytical Society and the Italian Psychoanalytical Society. This highly interesting book shows how building bridges between different psychoanalytical Societies and perspectives can produce new interesting ideas on the complex issue of the body-mind relationship. Issues such as the role of the senses in psychic life, the body as ‘a way of being, ’ the maternal body and its availability to the infant, the role of metaphor in connection to the body and the place of the analyst’s body in analytic treatment are just some of the subjects touched upon in this book which together with detailed description of clinical material of the analysis of children, adolescents and adults, make When the Body Speaks intellectually stimulating as well as extremely helpful for anyone interested in psychoanalysis and in clinical practice in general." - Prof Catalina Bronstein, Fellow and Training Analyst, British Psychoanalytical Society and Visiting Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London


"Edited by Don Campbell and Ronny Jaffé this fascinating and lively book deals with sensoriality and bodily issues into the analytic material, it aims to a deeper understanding of the human somatopsychic unity. When the Body Speaks is the result of years of dialogues between Italian and British psychoanalysts who met from 2001 to 2013. A specific aspect of the topic is tackled in each chapter. Distinguished authors present clinical cases that illustrate their way of being in touch with their own body-mind unit when working, thinking, and interpreting to the patient. Affected and concretely transformed by a psychosomatic disease the body can also be invasive in the clinical material and this can distort the countertransference. Faced with the patient’s body on the couch the analyst needs to listen to his own bodily counter-transferential reactions and try to work through his blind spots or scars. Remarkable survey!!" - Marilia Aisenstein, Training Analyst with the Hellenic Psychoanalytic Society and the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, Past President of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society and of the Paris Psychosomatic Institute