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Psychosomatics: an Ordering Schema. An Attempt to Integrate a Systemstheoretical and a Psychoanalytic point of view

The constructivistic theory of Maturana and Varela allows us to construct a schema that orders the diversity of psychosomatic phenomena. In doing so, Cartesian dualism is transcended.
Fundamental commonalities between systemstheory and psychoanalysis are explored. The integration of both approaches is presented as potentially fruitful for understanding and treating psychosomatic diseases. The ethical dimension will also be explored.

Psychosomatics versus “passage à l’acte”: where the other “jouissance” (enjoyment) renders the subject speechless

Psychosomatic phenomena can certainly be considered as equivalent to the “passage à l’acte” in the real of the body of the Other. On the basis of a case-study, the relationship is questionned between the death-wishes of the mother concerning the subject, and his incapacity for symbolising and articulating his anxiety and suffering. Subjects, who do not manage to subjectify their unbearable truth, often “opt for” the “passages à l’acte” and/or psychosomatic phenomena.

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From Francis Bacon to “the Man with the Starfish”

Two cases are used to illustrate a failure in the tying of the psychosomatic knot, by making appear the game and inscribing it in an attempt to cure. The first concerns Francis Bacon, the contemporary painter. His paintings, in the main, depict bodies that are monstrous and deformed. Several interviews with him are quoted, throwing light on his dialogue with the canvas, what he demanded of it and how this related to his experience of his own body. The second shows Monsieur M., in analysis, questionning his relationship with others and the world in general, linking this in turn to the chronic somatic illness from which he suffers. He was forced to construct an original formalisation, which evokes his nickname here: “The Starfish Man”. Finally certain theoretical hypotheses are proposed which might serve as models for the relationship involved, its possible foundation and necessity.

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