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Little, S. (2009). Somatic Sensibilities: A review of Bodies in Treatment: The Unspoken Dimension, edited by Frances Sommer Anderson. 2007, Analytic Press, 281 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 45(2):266-276.

(2009). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 45(2):266-276

Book Reviews

Somatic Sensibilities: A review of Bodies in Treatment: The Unspoken Dimension, edited by Frances Sommer Anderson. 2007, Analytic Press, 281 pp.

Review by:
Suzanne Little, Ph.D.

Bodies in treatment: The unspoken dimension is a clinician's handbook: a thoughtful, at times provocative, personal exploration of bodily (sensory, imagistic, kinesthetic) feelings, information, and expression in the therapeutic setting. It is an introduction to how somatic and energetic treatments (craniosacral therapy, yogic breathing, polarity work) can augment and innervate analytic treatment.

Anderson's earlier, coedited volume, Relational Perspectives on the Body (Aron and Anderson, 1998), is credited with placing the psy-chophysical reality of therapeutic engagement into intersubjective context. Bodies in Treatment is a more clinically focused account of what actually happens in the therapy setting. It builds on its predecessor's wide-ranging discourse on the nature of psyche-soma interaction, while tackling, more concretely, what it means to gain therapeutic traction with somatic memory, mirror neurons, and polyvagal balance. The volume focuses on the brain's impact on emotional processes, as well as the body's endogenous healing actions whose potential in the analytic setting remains largely unrealized.

It is, to my knowledge, the first psychoanalytic text in which body-focused psychoanalysts and analytically trained bodyworkers partake in a conversation on mind, body, consciousness, and healing. Interweaving insights from infant attachment research, traumatology, nonlinear dynamic systems theory, cognitive neuroscience, holistic healing and energetic concepts, Bodies in Treatment offers the synergistic potential of an interdisciplinary view on mind-body integration.

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