East Bay Intensive Study Group —
The Territory of the Body:
Psychoanalytic Conceptualizations of the Psyche-Soma
One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.
— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2014)
What can not be said will be wept.
— Sappho, 7th century BC
Patients walk into our consulting rooms with a sense of dis-ease. Some can say they are depressed or anxious. Some speak slowly, unhappily about their relationship with a partner or their daily work. Some are quiet and can barely use words. All speak through their bodies. Whether they move through the world with grace or speak of chronic pains located in stomach, head, or limbs; whether they seem frozen in our office or cannot sit still; whether they scratch or twitch, stuff their bodies voraciously with food and substances, or restrict all nourishment, the body speaks. It is the record of early experience, to be encountered in the present clinical moment.
With each patient, the body of the psychotherapist speaks. Is the therapist feeling tired or disconnected? Is the therapist feeling pressured, seduced, or deadened after an exchange? Projection, projective identification, countertransference are all central psychoanalytic concepts that register on the psyche-soma of the clinician.
The body is personal and communal. The body is political and cultural. At times, the body is a war zone where the forces of the private and the public do battle. When this happens, understandings fail and thought can become stuck in the body. In times of trauma, the body, once a refuge, may no longer be safe.
This year-long study course will take up various conceptualizations of the body in psychoanalysis. Therapists from a range of theoretical backgrounds will use contemporary texts, contemporary artists, and writings to explore the psychological development of body-mind. The body that is born, the body that registers pain and trauma, the body that heals, and the body that dies, and the territories in between.
ISG participants are eligible for 12 sessions of consultation with a PINC analyst at $60 per session to help integrate the material into clinical practice.
Click here for detailed information about individual ISG segments.
At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:
Describe Ogden's concept of the autistic-contiguous position and discuss how to make contact with early mental states in the clinical hour.
Discuss the central concepts in psychoanalytic thinking about the mind-body continuum and how those can be used as a lens for understanding the eating disordered patients’ struggle.
Describe and assess varied experiences of the sexual body as they emerge developmentally, including in the parent-infant relation, oedipal experience, and in adolescent and adult sexuality. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge to analyze eroticism in the embodied encounter of the patient-clinician dyad within the intersubjective analytic field of the clinical hour.
Describe various symptoms of disembodiment that manifest in the clinical hour (e.g. dissociation, traumatization, omnipotent body regimens) and discuss appropriate clinical interventions to address each symptom.
- Fonagy, P. & Target, M. (2007). The rooting of the mind in the body: New links between attachment theory and psychoanalytic thought. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 55: 412-456.
- Bers, S.A., Besser, A., Harpaz-Rotem, I., & Blatt, S.J. (2013). An empirical exploration of the dynamics of anorexia nervosa: Representations of self, mother, and father. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(2), 188-209.
- Zipfel, S. (2014). Focal Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and Optimized Treatment as Usual in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa (ANTOP study): Randomized Controlled Trial. The Lancet, 383, (9912), 127-137.
- Perez, David L., M.D., et al., (2016). Frontolimbic neural circuit changes in emotional processing and inhibitory control associated with clinical improvement following transference‐focused psychotherapy in borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 70(1), 51-61.
Dianne Elise, Ph.D., personal and supervising analyst and faculty at PINC, has served on the editorial boards of Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Studies in Gender & Sexuality. She has elaborated her 2018 fort da essay on a Winnicottian field theory into a book of her papers, Creativity and the Erotic dimensions of the Analytic Field (Routledge, 2019).
Paula Mandel, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst and a graduate of PINC. She supervises and teaches at numerous Bay Area training sites. Dr. Mandel presented her paper, “Time and the Body: Managing Longing Through the Manipulation of Time,” at the 2017 IPA conference in Buenos Aires as the North American finalist for the Tyson Prize.
Deborah Melman, Ph.D., is on the faculty at the Wright Institute, PINC, and SFCP.
She has a private practice in Berkeley.
Tom Wooldridge, Psy.D., ABPP, is a psychoanalyst, board-certified clinical psychologist, and associate professor at Golden Gate University. He has published two books: Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males and Psychoanalytic Treatment of Eating Disorders (Relational Perspectives Book Series), in addition to numerous articles on a wide range of topics. He is in private practice in Berkeley.
Students not admitted due to space limitation will receive a full refund of their deposit. Cancellations prior to Friday, August 23, 2019: Full refund of deposit minus $100 administration charge. Cancellations after Friday, August 23, 2019: No refund provided.