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Lombardi, R. (2009). Through the Eye of the Needle: The Unfolding of the Unconscious Body. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(1):61-94.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(1):61-94

Through the Eye of the Needle: The Unfolding of the Unconscious Body

Riccardo Lombardi

The body is the starting point of experience and the original source of psychic life. In the course of analysis “the camel” must “go through the eye of the needle,” in the sense that the body must become the specific object of mental working through, although no link between the corporeal and the mental can be taken for granted. The body-mind relationship is explored in the light of Matte Blanco's hypothesis that symmetric and asymmetric relationships are always present in the mind in differing proportions, and that the realm of symmetry is the deep unconscious. In primitive mental states the body may be completely unperceived: just as H. G. Wells's invisible man could be seen only when dressed, so the body appears on the mind's horizon only when asymmetric thought is directed at it. Three clinical vignettes show the contribution of the body-mind relationship to the overcoming of serious impasses in analysis.

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