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Katz, A.W. (2010). Healing the Split Between Body and Mind: Structural and Developmental Aspects of Psychosomatic Illness. Psychoanal. Inq., 30(5):430-444.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 30(5):430-444

Healing the Split Between Body and Mind: Structural and Developmental Aspects of Psychosomatic Illness

Anita Weinreb Katz, Ph.D. and FIPA

This study delves into theoretical and clinical aspects of the relationship between problems in the body, and deficits in the mind's capacity to reflect upon and contain desires, fears, frustrations, and other emotional states. Specifically, the analytic journey of two women with multiple somatic problems provided clues as to the etiology and function of their psychosomatic problems. Both women suffered severe trauma when they were toddlers. Although both were gifted verbally, some of the deepest and most authentic experiences in our work together were derived from noting and then reflecting upon physical sensations or experiences they had in the room with me. The body became a vehicle into which unprocessed feelings were emptied. The words to say it, contain it, and reflect upon it came much later in the course of the treatment. Being strong, separate and independent was dangerous—and associated with punishment or abandonment. Yet being dependent—either when lovingly connected or when sick—although gratifying their wish for care and concern, at the same time made them feel vulnerable to invasion and shame. The connection between psyche and soma for both these women is demonstrated in the clinical material and discussed in terms of various theoretical contributions.

[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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