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Kristiansen, S. (2014). Towards a “full” language. Concerning bodily aspects in the psychoanalytic talking cure1,2. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 37(2):125-132.

(2014). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 37(2):125-132

Towards a “full” language. Concerning bodily aspects in the psychoanalytic talking cure1,2

Sølvi Kristiansen

There is an intimate connection between body and language. A language without links to sensations and emotions is experienced as alienated and dead. Normally, we take this link for granted ― we do not reflect upon it. But sometimes, we are reminded of the complexity of these relations, especially in clinical states where the connections between body and language seem to be attacked. When this happens, both language and body suffer, the language is emptied and the body acts. In this paper, I will discuss how psychoanalysis ― as a practice of spoken language ― may influence the development of a language with roots in body and affects, what I have called a “full” language. I propose that in the psychoanalytic process, there takes place a double movement ― from body to language ― but also from language to body. The discussion is based on experiences from a psychoanalytic treatment of a woman who came with severe psychosomatic symptoms and a feeling of that there was a dividing line between the head and the body. For this patient, the analysis came to be about being able to feel pain, anxiety and desire, and about developing a language that could contain both thoughts and bodily sensations and emotions.

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