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Martini, S. (2016). Embodying Analysis: The Body and the Therapeutic Process. J. Anal. Psychol., 61(1):5-23.

(2016). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 61(1):5-23

Embodying Analysis: The Body and the Therapeutic Process

Salvatore Martini

This paper considers the transfer of somatic effects from patient to analyst, which gives rise to embodied countertransference, functioning as an organ of primitive communication. By means of processes of projective identification, the analyst experiences somatic disturbances within himself or herself that are connected to the split-off complexes of the analysand. The analyst's own attempt at mind-body integration ushers the patient towards a progressive understanding and acceptance of his or her inner suffering.

Such experiences of psychic contagion between patient and analyst are related to Jung's ‘psychology of the transference’ and the idea of the ‘subtle body’ as an unconscious shared area. The re-attribution of meaning to pre-verbal psychic experiences within the ‘embodied reverie’ of the analyst enables the analytic dyad to reach the archetypal energies and structuring power of the collective unconscious. A detailed case example is presented of how the emergence of the vitalizing connection between the psyche and the soma, severed through traumatic early relations with parents or carers, allows the instinctual impulse of the Self to manifest, thereby reactivating the process of individuation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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