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Elective: The Body

January 12 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm, Wyman Classroom

Fourth Year Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2023-24, 2nd Trimester — Fridays, 3:30-5:00pm
John Cardinali, PsyD
Babs Glover, MA LMHC

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January 12, 2024 — Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: Dissociation and dis/embodiment

[28 pages]

Goldberg centers his article on the meaning given us through the sensory-somatic register of the body.  He builds on the Winnicottian ideas of indwelling and going-on-being to elaborate the experience of embodiment—living psychically in an actual body. Goldberg argues that it is through embodiment that we derive a sense of being and living vitally, and that without it we are left lacking access to the realness and aliveness of the self and the world.  He elaborates a clinical approach foregrounding the non-verbal psychosensory pattern language of the body and argues for the urgency of modifying technique where the patient presents with a fixed regime of disembodiment or dissociation and is thus dislocated from an interior emotional life.  Key to his approach is to engage at the level of shared sensoriality, noticing things in presentational form, rather than at the representational level.

 Like Goldberg, Cornell directs us to attend to the unlanguaged, sensory/somatic (i.e., subsymbolic) level of our patients’ experience.  His clinical focus is on the amplification of sensate, presentational elements of experience to foster the indwelling of patients who navigate life disembodied or dissociated from the fullness of a vital and direct connection between mind and body.  Cornell argues for early focus on the vertical (i.e., mind-body) axis rather than the horizontal (interpersonal) axis, to foster the communication between the patient’s mind and their disavowed body before attending to transferential material. He underscores the importance of analysts developing their capacities for somatic resonance, as distinct from countertransferential response.

Goldberg, P. (2022). “Embodiment, dissociation, and the rhythm of life” in Body as Psychoanalytic Object: Clinical Applications from Winnicott to Bion and Beyond (Harrang, D. Tillotson, and N. Winters, eds.) NY: Routledge (pp118-133).

Cornell, W. (2022). Wishing I Weren’t Here: Therapeutic Engagements with Disembodied States. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 42:4, pp253-265.


January 12
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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(206) 328-5315
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4020 E Madison St, #230
Seattle, WA 98112
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(206) 328-5315
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