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Vanderwees, C. (2020). Symptom to Skinthome: A Psychoanalytic Skinthesis. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 28(1):75-85.

(2020). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 28(1):75-85

Symptom to Skinthome: A Psychoanalytic Skinthesis

Chris Vanderwees

This article provides a synthesis of psychoanalytic notions about the symbolic function(s) of the skin, including the subject's relation to the specular image, the internalized reflection of the subject as outlined in Schilder's concept of the “body image,” and Lacan's theory of the “mirror stage.” The article also traces Esther Bick's work on the psychic function of the skin as a container and Didier Anzieu's development of the skin-ego, exploring the subject's identification with the skin and the internalization of the containment function in relation to the ego and the Other. The article suggests that it may be possible to conceptualize a transformation from the symptom to the sinthome to the skinthome throughout the course of psychoanalytic treatment.

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