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Gentile, K. (2006). Words Just Don't Cut It: Commentary on Paper by Mary E. Sonntag. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(3):333-339.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(3):333-339

Words Just Don't Cut It: Commentary on Paper by Mary E. Sonntag Related Papers

Katie Gentile, Ph.D.

In this discussion, I highlight the use of bodies in the place of worded lan guage in Sonntag's clinical work with her patient Olivia. Loewald (1980) de scribed the embodied aspects of primary process making the words of second ary process meaningful. As a survivor of sexual abuse and numerous medical invasions, Olivia does not have the capacity to meld primary and secondary process to create symbolization. Instead, she struggles to create meaning through a multiplicity of dissociated bodies and self-destructive behaviors. I describe the function of these dissociated bodies, in particular that of her puppy, and the imperative role Sonntag plays when she listens and commu nicates through Olivia's embodied language instead of interpreting through psychoanalytic words.

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