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Bryon, D. (2020). Sletvold, Jon. (2019). ‘Neuroscience and the Embodiment of Psychoanalysis - with an Appreciation of Damasio's Contribution’. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 39, 8, 545-56.. J. Anal. Psychol., 65(4):762-765.

(2020). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 65(4):762-765

Sletvold, Jon. (2019). ‘Neuroscience and the Embodiment of Psychoanalysis - with an Appreciation of Damasio's Contribution’. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 39, 8, 545-56.

Review by:
Deborah Bryon

Sletvold describes the importance of a neuroscientific approach to psychoanalysis, beginning with Freud's (1923) formulation that the ego is a ‘body ego’, an aspect of psychoanalytic thought he believes was previously overlooked. Sletvold has focused on the somatic aspect of psychoanalysis aligned with Damasio's (1994, 2000, 2003, 2010) emphasis on brain-body interaction, and the indissoluble relationship between brain, body, and the world. Although Freud began from a psychoanalytic perspective rather than a neurobiological one, Sletvold argues that Damasio and Freud arrive at similar conclusions, agreeing on the “organic basis” of psychoanalysis. Damasio's view aligns with Freud's theory that consciousness arises from primitive ego parts of the Id. This could be further differentiated in conjunction with Jung's notion that instinctual energy becomes channelled through universal archetypal templates, made conscious through symbolic representation.

Sletvold believes neuroscience informs the theory of psychoanalysis, which is ultimately based upon clinical experience. He does not review the neuropsychological studies that support Damasio's view. Rather he draws from psychoanalytic theory, philosophy, and clinical experience based upon his own clinical and human experience.

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