by Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, PhD
Psychosomatics is concerned with mentalization and the mind’s impact on the body’s functions. Choosing the reverse approach, how the body steers the mind, the author elaborates on a monistic mind-body-theory, suggesting that all physiological processes down to the cellular level have a psychological concomitant. Body and mind are the two sides of one coin, distinguished though by different representational organizations. This perspective is pertinent to Freud’s 1915 definition of the drive as the body’s demand on the mind. It also opens interesting perspectives for the elaboration of a preservative drive and its specific ideation in mental life. Comparing the dynamics between the sexual and the preservative drives with the workings of the autonomous nervous system reveals some specific traits of the preservative drives, as they are considered characteristic for psychosomatic patients. As a case in point, the author looks into the French conception of the drives and the theoretical framework of the Paris School of Psychosomatics, to which her conception would add an important dimension, theoretically, clinically, and technically.
The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 42:1-2, 93-102, 2019.
About the Author
Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, PhD, studied literature, philosophy and psychology in Heidelberg and Zürich, where she worked as a university professor for clinical psychology. She is a training and supervising analyst at the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society and at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. Her areas of expertise are metapsychology, in particular drive theory, its clinical application, and applied psychoanalysis of creative processes. She is the author of Life Drive & Death Drive, Libido & Lethe (2001), Driven to Survive: Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis (2018), and Rousseaus Traum: Roman (2019) and over 40 articles, published in many languages, and the editor of a Freud Reader and two collections of short stories. Currently she is the Chair of the IPA in Culture Committee. She works in private practice in Chestnut Hill.
Robin Gomolin, PsyaD (2019). The Intergenerational Transmission of Holocaust trauma: A psychoanalytic theory revisited. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 88(3), 461–500.
Anna Ornstein, MD (2020). Mourning. In The Handbook of Psychoanalytic Holocaust Studies: International Perspectives, edited Ira Brenner. Routledge, 2019, p. 74-80.
Randall H. Paulsen, MD (2019). Scientific Theory on the Couch: A Response to Scott C. Taylor. American Imago, 76(3), 405-411.
Bernard Edelstein, MD (2019). Introduction: Stumbling on our Past, Reflections on James Baldwin’s “My Dungeon Shook”. American Imago, 76(3): 295-300.
Don Lipsitt, MD (2020). Is Today’s 21st Century Burnout 19th Century’s Neurasthenia? The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 207(9): 773-777, September 2019.
Elsa Ronningstam, PhD (2020). Internal Processing in Patients with Pathological Narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Implications for Alliance Building and Therapeutic Strategies. Journal of Personality Disorders, 34 (Suppl): 80-103.
Dan Jacobs (2019). Three’s a Crowd: Stella’s Pregnancy and the Arrival of an “Other” in A Streetcar Named Desire. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. 16:3, 174– 180.
Fred Busch (2020). The Clinical Significance and Problems of a Traumaticentric View. In Trauma and the Destructive-Transformative Struggle: Clinical Perspectives, edited by Terrence McBride and Maureen Murphy. Routledge, p. 187-194.
James M. Herzog (2019). “Polarity, Paradox and the Organizing Process in Development”; Parent-Infant Psychotherapy and Child Analytic Technique: In Honor of Louis Sander. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 39:1, 98-108.
Jane Hanenberg, EdD (2019). Review of the book Demons in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Genocide, Slavery and Extreme Trauma in Psychoanalytic Practice ed. by Adrienne Harris, Margery Kalb, and Susan Klebanoff. American Imago 76(2), 274-278.
Paola M. Contreras, PsyD (2019). Working with the Human Trafficking Survivor: What Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Medical Professionals Need to Know. In Working with the Human Trafficking Survivor: What Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Medical Professionals Need to Know, edited by Mary C. Burke. Routledge, pp. 61-80.