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The Bodily Subject and the Subjective Body. From Theory to Clinic

The subject of this article is the body within the clinic of neurosis. A chronological summary of Jacques Lacan’s theory of the body is presented and some crucial clinical implications are highlighted. Throughout Lacan’s teaching, the Imaginary, Symbolic and the Real respectively are of primary importance in the construction of the body’s reality. The body is a bodily image that is construed in the field of the Other in response to the fragmentation of the Real drive. Thus the author will argue that the body is the main feature in Lacanian ontology: psychological reality is constructed simultaneously with bodily reality. Therefore, subject and body cannot and should not be separated in the clinic. This point will be illustrated by two case studies. The case of Pirandello’s novel One, No One and One Hundred Thousand (2001) shows that the subject is first and foremost a bodily subject; whereas the case of Alessandro provides a clear illustration of the fact that the body is a subjective body that has to be treated and listened to as such. As an introduction to the second case, the author will briefly deal with the works of Jean Bergès and Julian de Ajuriaguerra.