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Summers, F. (2019). Skin in the Game. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(1):38-47.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(1):38-47

Skin in the Game

Frank Summers, PhD, ABPP

This paper uses the metaphor of “skin in the game” to address the issue of touch in psychoanalysis. The theme is that touch is different from the other senses in that it requires a kind of permission from the subject to take place. Whereas the eyes may be the window to the soul, the skin is more like the door: an entryway that requires permission to enter. That is why skin is the most complicated and difficult sense to be exercised between patient and analyst. Touch has many possible different meanings in analysis, but it typically marks an advance in intimacy and therefore tends to be an emotionally powerful type of contact for the analytic pair; that is a reason not to eschew it but to deploy it where it may advance the analytic relationship. A case is used to show the method used by the author to overcome a skin phobia.

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