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Da Silva, G. (1990). Borborygmi as Markers of Psychic Work During the Analytic Session—A Contribution to Freud's 'Experience of Satisfaction' and to Bion's Idea about the Digestive Model for the Thinking Apparatus. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:641-659.

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(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:641-659

Borborygmi as Markers of Psychic Work During the Analytic Session—A Contribution to Freud's 'Experience of Satisfaction' and to Bion's Idea about the Digestive Model for the Thinking Apparatus

Guy Da Silva

I then had the satisfaction of seeing his doubt dwindled
away, as in the course of the work his bowel began,
like a hysterically affected organ, to 'join in the conversation'.
Freud (1918p. 76)


I was first intrigued by rumbling and gurgling abdominal sounds—borborygmi—coming from both patient and analyst in the course of my own personal analysis. At the time not only were these 'noises' not explored systematically, they were so intruding that attempts were made to link them to the verbal flow of the session. One day, during a late fall session, as my analyst was preparing to leave the cold Montreal weather for a Florida vacation, he encouraged me to free associate about my borborygmi and his own which I had heard and mentioned. He then interpreted the 'baby part' of me wishing to be incorporated within him; I had experienced him as a migrating bird in order to travel within the confines of the 'maternal' bosom, as an expression of my fear of separation and of termination of analysis. I was so intrigued that I began noticing these strange sounds during the course of sessions with my analytic patients. Further clinical observations have convinced me that borborygmi often signal a convergence of physiological sensations and emotional contact producing 'moments of truth' about the patient–analyst communication and they thus become markers for new symbolization and turning points in analysis.

In this paper, I will first present a theoretical

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