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Matthis, I. Kihlbom, M. (1999). The Body/Mind Study Group of the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society. Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(1):142.

(1999). Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(1):142

The Body/Mind Study Group of the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society

Review by:
Iréne Matthis, M.D., Ph.D.

Magnus Kihlbom, M.D.

In 1996 Mark Solms was invited to give his paper “What Is Consciousness?” to the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society. It triggered interest among many members in issues related to the new developments in the neurosciences. On September 3, 1997, a meeting was convened, on the initiative of Magnus Kihlbom, to explore the possibilities of forming a Study Group on Body/Mind issues within the Society. The response was positive and on September 29, 1997, Mark Solms again visited Stockholm to present his paper “Psychoanalysis and Neuropsychology.” The following month the group met to discuss Irene Matthis's book and medical dissertation: The Thinking Body: Studies on the Hysterical Symptom, which presents a semiotic analysis of Freud's case presentations in Studies on Hysteria.

Since then the group, consisting of 18 members, has met on a monthly basis, devoting the first year to getting themselves acquainted with current neuroscientific research (Damasio, Edel man, Freeman, Rosenfield, Sacks) and the philosophical questions raised by the problems of unconscious and conscious functions, processes, and structures (P. Churchland, Dennett, Lakeoff and Johnson, Penrose, Searles). We have established contact with neuroscientists and invited them to present papers in our society; the Swedish neuroscientist Peter Ărheim gave a paper in January 1998, and Antonio Damasio in September 1998. During the fall of 1998 a philosopher, Gunnar Björnsson, met twice with our group. The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association Internet discussion, occasioned by Mark Solms' paper “What Is Consciousness?” was the subject of an intense study and debate during the fall of 1998. In 1999 we are planning a more intimate exchange with Swedish neuroscientists, who have shown an increasing interest in cooperating with us in exploring the interfaces between psychoanalysis and neuroscience, as well as the clinical and theoretical questions involved in crossing, what has seemed up to now, as an impossible frontier.

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