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Torras De Beà, E. (1987). Body Schema and Identity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:175-183.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:175-183

Body Schema and Identity

Eulàlia Torras De Beà


The author describes the body schema as the representation of the body in the mind which is organized throughout the process of development and has the characteristics of an internal object. She describes it as constantly fluctuating between the levels of symbol and of symbolic equation.

As to the genesis of the body schema, she describes the relationship of the child with its parents and, in particular, with the mother, as the site of origin of the body schema. She also mentions the importance of the functioning body and hence of the sensorimotor period for the development of the body schema and of self-object differentiation.

Finally, discussing body schema and identity, she describes the relations between these two entities and with the self, as relationships of mutual containment and representation. She

relates these concepts to Klein's theory of the 'assembly of internalized objects'. She then turns to psychopathology, which she regards as the results of a mutual invasion between the body schema, identity and the self. She gives a number of clinical examples to illustrate various aspects of psychopathology and of the relations between body schema and identity.

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