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Plassmann, R. (1998). Organ Worlds: Outline of an Analytical Psychology of the Body. Psychoanal. Inq., 18(3):344-367.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 18(3):344-367

Organ Worlds: Outline of an Analytical Psychology of the Body

Reinhard Plassmann, M.D.

When working with patients with borderline syndromes in a clinical setting, one notices a large number of body-related phenomena; these phenomena can be explained only partially, and in an unsatisfying manner, by the theories put forth to date. These patients gain entry to subjective worlds of experiencing via manipulation of the body. Sometimes they are able to escape from these worlds spontaneously; frequently, however, they require psychotherapeutic assistance.

Owing to the frequent alternation between normal and pathological worlds of experiencing occurring in the course of the disease, the difference between the two types of reality emerges with relative clarity. If this difference had its origins in the abnormal fantasies alone, it would be sufficient to describe the organ fantasies tied to the body. These are only part of the relevant events, however, and not the most important part at that. The same can be said of the demonstrably pathological fantasies of relationship. Although these are also part of the contents of the pathological worlds of experiencing, they do not explain how the patient fell out of the normal world of experiencing; nor do they explain the patient's “crash landing” or the lack of distance between him or her and these abnormal worlds of experiencing.

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