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Schmidt, M. (2007). Costello, Melanie Starr. Imagination, Illness and Injury: Jungian Psychology and the Somatic Dimensions of Perception. London & New York: Routledge, 2006. Pp. 122. Hbk. £50.00/$90.00; Pbk. £16.99/$30.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 52(3):369-371.

(2007). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 52(3):369-371

Book Reviews

Costello, Melanie Starr. Imagination, Illness and Injury: Jungian Psychology and the Somatic Dimensions of Perception. London & New York: Routledge, 2006. Pp. 122. Hbk. £50.00/$90.00; Pbk. £16.99/$30.95.

Review by:
Martin Schmidt

Edited by:
Linda Carter and Marcus West

This book investigates the relationship between body and psyche in ‘the synthesis and contextualization of experience’. It explores the function of the soma as a repository for aspects of experience withheld from consciousness in a condition referred to by the author as ‘knowing-and-not-knowing’. This, she describes as ‘a borderland of consciousness where experience is registered in some form, but only diffusely thought, if thought at all’. Certain states of anxiety, along with other neurotic and somatic symptoms are portrayed as expressions of knowledge that have not been adequately represented to consciousness. In this respect these ‘knowing-and-not-knowing’ states resonate with what Christopher Bollas (1987) calls the ‘unthought known’ whereby patients express, through the transference, aspects of their early object relations that have not been mentally represented. Costello translates these unrepressed contents of the unconscious into a Jungian language and calls them ‘somatically expressed complex-fragments’. She extends Bollas's argument and ascribes these unconscious contents not solely to early object relations but also to an ‘interplay of archetypal, cultural, and later developmental factors’.

The author accepts, as Kalsched (1996) described with traumatized patients, that somatization can be understood as a defensive mechanism in that it protects the individual from experiencing unbearable psychic pain through the inhibition of mental representation.

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