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Kaplan, D.M. (1963-64). Body, Mind and the Sensory Gateways. By Mix Deutsch. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1963, pp. 106.. Psychoanal. Rev., 50D(4):156-157.

(1963-64). Psychoanalytic Review, 50D(4):156-157

Book Reviews

Body, Mind and the Sensory Gateways. By Mix Deutsch. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1963, pp. 106.

Review by:
Donald M. Kaplan

Psychoanalysis owes its inception to Freud's strategy of dichotomizing the mind and the body—or, perhaps more accurately, his strategy of accepting the dichotomy. After several false starts, he suspended, with some reluctance, his neurophysiologic faculty, and in the late 1890's he wrote to Fleiss: “I have no desire at all to leave psychology hanging in the air with no organic basis. But beyond a feeling of conviction, I have nothing either theoretical or therapeutic to work on and so I must behave as if confronted by psychological factors only.” The dichotomy was clearly provisional. Thus its mitigation, which began in the very act of allowing the distinction between the mental and the physical, has been a persistent problem for psychoanalysis—in many ways its most hazardous frontier.

Body, Mind and the Sensory Gateways is a terse and substantial monograph reporting a current aspect of Felix Deutsch's far-ranging activity at this frontier. Avoiding the pitfalls of psychophysiological epiphenomenalism, parallelism, interactionism and the rest, Deutsch survives among problems which psychoanalysts tend to abandon to physiologists and experimental psychologists, and at the same time remains a psychoanalyst.

For the psychoanalyst the connections—gateways is Deutsch's elegant term—between the mind and the body are discernible during those instances in the analytic interview when memory and affect are released in the patient in some sort of reciprocal relationship. The mobilization in the patient of such gateways involves skills which distinguish the psychoanalyst from the mere psychotherapist. In respect to such skills Deutsch is, of course, a master analyst.

His current monograph is a clinical exploitation of the longstanding thesis that “every sense perception including the visceral is at first only an abstract signal of the awareness of the outer and inner world, [and] in the beginning of neonatal life all these signals were perceived as if they came from within; subject and object were one and the same.” (p. 2) All object relations originate in sensory perceptions. The subsequent individuation of objects and the acquisition of a sense of identity proceed via separation phenomena that are contingent upon the potentiality of parts of the body for the symbolic expression of their separation.

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