The Psychosomatic Symptom: Between Psychoanalysis and Medicine

Unbehagen Psychoanalytic – New School University – May 16 2015

Sigmund Freud was originally a physician and neurologist interested in the body-mind process of pathology and cure. He formulated the idea of psycho-neurosis alongside of “actual-” or physio-neurosis and eventually hoped to return to the question of physical pathology and its relation to psychoanalysis. Though he deviated from the psychoanalytic orthodoxy, Freud’s cherished student Wilhelm Reich did complete this return to the body in order to begin the development of a truly integral psychoanalytic medicine and psychiatry. “Psychosomatic” does not refer to an imaginary or hysterical symptom. Every symptom is psychosomatic. Psychosis relates differently to somatic symptoms than neurosis. The field of medicine and psychiatry is in serious crisis today and desperately needs what psychoanalysis has to offer. By tracing the origins of psychoanalysis we can continue this much needed effort to redeem the current practice of medicine and psychiatry from reductionism and place it in line with the psychoanalytic ethic.

Scott Von is a psychoanalyst and physician and Director of the New Clinic for Integral Medicine and Psychiatry in New York. He has taught as a professor at NYU, CUNY, Pacific College, and ACTCM Medical School, and is a member of Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association. He is also a poet and artist currently working with the Cabinet Gallery in London where he has produced the four volume multimodal work Autopoesis. He is the author of the forthcoming Schizoanalysis: Chaos & Complexity in Clinical Practice and Orgonomy: Integral Medicine & Psychiatry.

Suggested Readings

Sigmund Freud The Origins of Psychoanalysis

Wilhelm Reich The Discovery of the Orgone

George Canguilhem The Normal and the Pathological

Michel Foucault Mental Illness and Psychology

Mark Solms Clinical Studies in Neuro-Psychoanalysis

Paul Hriso Mental Automatisms

Paul Verhaeghe On Being Normal and Other Disorders

Jonathan Redmond Ordinary Psychosis and the Body