Me and my body
Attempt on a new interpretation of the unity of body and spirit
Key words: dualism of body and spirit, unity of body and spirit, Aristotelianism, first and second realization of the body (actus primus, actus secundis), being a person, psycho-noetic antagonism
V.E. Frankl sees the relation between the spirit and the psychophysical as an antagonism in which the spiritual person can and must defy the physical-mental organism and its tendencies. He therefore remains thoughtlessly tied to Platonic dualism as well as the Cartesian dichotomy of thought and extension (matter), leading to the risk of reducing the body to its mere physical dimension. New Existential Analysis is rather orientated towards the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition of the unity of body and spirit and assumes the basic requirement for the possibility of being spirit and person in corporeity. Body experience is fundamental for a personal organization of life according to Existential Analysis. This approach provides the chance to engage in the current discussion on a compatiblist or dualist anthropology and to indicate the original unity regarding the relation of spirit and neurophysiologic conditionality. The Aristotelian inspired interpretation of the spirit as the second realization of the spiritual capacity of the soul serves as model, enabling it to attain the ontological quality of liberty, self-awareness and intentionality.
The Self in the Flesh
Existence and Psychosomatics
Key words: existential analysis, psychosomatics, anthropological concept of man, existential fundamental motivations, psychodynamics
Existence is holistic being, i.e. embodied being in the world. Existence in EA is described by the existential fundamental motivations. They contain the psychodynamic basis which may provoke psychic disorders in the body. Drawing on clinical experience and derived from numerous theories of psychosomatics and theories of resource-enhancement, an anthropological picture and an etiological understanding of psychosomatic diseases is developed, which also offers a subjectively felt link between the body and psyche. Hence a psychosomatic disorder is characterized mainly by a blockage of the 2nd and 3rd fundamental motivations combined with an exaggerated reaction of the 1st and 4th FMs, thus resulting in the typical functional activism. Psychopathologically, one may start out with a simultaneous concurrent disorder, mutually inhibiting and therefore “masked” depression and hysteria. The personal-spiritual process of the appropriation of information is characterized by reduced reception of “impression” and development of “position-taking”. – A case study exemplifies the description of this existential analytical approach to psychosomatics.
Key words: Existential Analysis, heart frequency variability, establishing meaning, approval
Metaphorically, overall wisdom has always been bestowed upon the heart in literature, art, religion and philosophy. Also modern natural sciences increasingly relate to the heart as a highly sensitive organ of perception and communication for physiological and psychological processes, attributing to it a central role concerning the regulation of emotions and of the self. Perhaps the synchronisation of motives, which can, attentively experienced in person, mark out the path towards the establishment of meaning and finding fulfilment, is steered by the hearts lively rhythm.
Partisans of the Psyche
The path of traumatic experiences going underground
Liselotte Tutsch, Heinrich Donat
Key words: neurobiological manifestation, somatoform dissociation, structural changes, trauma, specific therapy of traumatic experiences
On the basis of new scientific findings it is outlined how somatoform disorders can be generated as a result of not integrated, traumatic experiences and how one can understand this disorder as a typical posttraumatic consequence of the whole personality.
Body memory and life story
Key words: implicit memory, life story, Body memory, self, intercorporeality
Memory does not only comprise our distinct recollections of the past, but also the acquired dispositions, skills and habits which implicitly, i.e. pre- or unconsciously influence our present experience and conduct. This ‘body memory’ appears in different forms which may be described as procedural, situative, intercorporeal, incorporative and traumatic memory. The life-long plasticity of body memory enables us to adapt to the natural and social environment, in particular to become entrenched and feel at home in social space. On the other hand, the structures accrued in body memory are an essential basis of our experience of self and identity: The individual history and peculiarity of a person is also expressed by her bodily habit and behaviour. This concept of body memory is outlined phenomenologically and illustrated by clinical and literary examples.
On becoming a woman…
Psychotherapy of a patient with severe endometriosis
Key words: endometriosis, casuistry, Personal Existential Analysis, physical illness, phenomenology
An existential analytical psychotherapy is introduced of a patient fallen ill with endometriosis against the background of psychopathogenetical and psychosocial aspects. The principal goal of therapeutic process was to accompany the patient towards a benevolent relationship with herself and her body, and to help her find a personal handling of her illness as well as a good quality of life in spite of remaining symptoms. Through phenomenological
introspection onto the physical and psychological experience of the patient and into dynamics of the relationships in her family of origin, illness provoking and painful connections became visible and suited for treatment.