Relational Perspectives on the Body
Edited by Lewis Aron, Frances Sommer Anderson
Routledge – 2000 – 352 pages
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