Somatic Countertransference as Evidence of Adhesive Identification in a Severely Traumatized Woman

Abstract

This paper discusses the use of somatic countertransference as a means of learning about the patient, about projective and adhesive identification and about the object relating nature of the most traumatized and withdrawn part of the personality. It assumes an elemental knowledge of British Object Relations and uses clinical material to illustrate the hypotheses that somatic countertransference is an indicator of a very elemental communication occurring from the aspect of the psyche that is united in a body mind or mind body. The paper assumes that this body mind was object seeking at birth and perhaps before. Because these early aspects of the personality are non verbal and non conceptual, the analyst must rely not only on the verbal material in a session but on the emotional and sensual experiences within the transference and the countertransference. Such reliance requires a faith in one’s own intuition without a certainty that one is “right.” Because speaking of such early experience is difficult, often writers and analysts appear more certain than they are. This is a hazard of this type of analytic work. What I am writing about is conjecture or imagination or dream, but I am suggesting that such dream work is a valuable tool for analysis.

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Correspondence to Judy K. Eekhoff.

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Address correspondence to Judy K. Eekhoff, Ph.D. FIPA, 1708 31th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144, USA; e-mail: jkeekhoff@comcast.net

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Eekhoff, J.K. Somatic Countertransference as Evidence of Adhesive Identification in a Severely Traumatized Woman. Am J Psychoanal 78, 63–73 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-017-9122-5

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Keywords

  • adhesive identification
  • severe trauma
  • somatic countertransference