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Welldon, E. (2011). Consensuality: Didier Anzieu, Gender and the Sense of Touch by Naomi Segal. Published by Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam, New York, NY, 2009; 286 pp; €60 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 27(1):118-124.
(2011). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 27(1):118-124
Consensuality: Didier Anzieu, Gender and the Sense of Touch by Naomi Segal. Published by Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam, New York, NY, 2009; 286 pp; €60 paperback.
Review by: Estela Welldon
I came across this wonderful book because of my recent professional encounter with the author, Professor Naomi Segal, Director of the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of London, a prominent and wellknown academic feminist who has specialized in researching literature, culture and theory, with a particular interest in psychoanalysis, the body, gender and sexuality.
The main theme of this book is most topical. Just when psychoanalysis which, surprisingly, has previously ignored or not properly acknowledged the importance of the senses and their correspondence with the body, it is presently focusing its attention fully on the body, ‘taking the body back into psychoanalysis’ (as asserted by Alessandra Lemma in a recent lecture on 12 June 2010 at the BAP), with many psychoanalysts addressing this crucial subject.
Naomi Segal has written a comprehensive and fully documented book about the life and works of French psychoanalyst, Didier Anzieu, whose seminal theories constitute the essential conceptualizations on skin and containment which form the spine of this book. It includes his theoretical writing, not only his best-known skin ego but also his conceptualizations of gender and creativity from which his skin ego theory is derived.
Didier Anzieu advanced the hypothesis of a fantasy of a skin common to mother and child, from which he developed the concept of a skin ego incorporating many ideas associated with the English school of psychoanalysis, especially Kleinian theories, including Esther Bick's notion of a psychic skin.
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