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Sahlberg, B. (2019). Between a suffering body and a body in a state of need: Aulagnier’s theory of discourses on the body applied to primitive mental states. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 42(1-2):44-51.

(2019). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 42(1-2):44-51

Between a suffering body and a body in a state of need: Aulagnier’s theory of discourses on the body applied to primitive mental states

Björn Sahlberg

In her theory of discourses on the body, Aulagnier makes the comparison of the concept of ‘a suffering body’ and the concept of ‘a body in a state of need’. The last type is what she thinks is often found in addiction, anorexia and in borderline states, conditions marked by a radical negativity. On the other hand, ‘a suffering body’ is a concept that indicates a relation and two bodies, mother’s and child’s, that communicate. Suffering and infantile sexuality is a first attempt to accept separation by weaving a net of fantasy over the abyss of lack and separation. If pleasure and suffering are lacking as representations, the sensory reactions may exist physiologically but without psychical existence. The concepts of ‘a suffering body’ and 'a body in a state of need' will enable us to think about important structural differences between neurotic-, borderline- and psychotic conditions. As a foundation for her concepts lies a metapsychological elaborations of three kinds of processes for representation: the primal-, the primary- and the secondary process.

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