Psychosomatic Pathology as a Developmental Failure: A Model for Research

  • Renata De Benedetti Gaddini


As it is known (Gaddini, 1981), “psychoanalysis considers mental activity as the most highly differentiated bodily function, so differentiated that it requires its own method of research, able to study its phenomena as they are, irrespective of the underlying biological pre-suppositions. However, psychoanalysis also consideres the body and mind as a functional “continuum” in which the key element is still a process, in the differentiation of the mental function, whose direction is from body to mind, but which psychianalysis studies from mind to body”. According to Freud (1910), “Psychoanalysts never forget that the mental is based on the organic, although their work can only carry them as far as this basis, and not beyond it”. Freud believed that the only scientific psychology to build up was one that in itself combined the idea of the mind as a differentiated bodily function and a concomitant and complex mind-body functioning. A general aspect of the mind-body “continuum”, to give an idea of its complexity, is that, since mental functioning is also determined by body functioning, is also influenced by it in different ways and to various degrees, and since it also influences bodily functioning may also, in different ways and to various degrees, determine it (Gaddini, 1981).


Mental Activity Bodily Function Mental Functioning Symbol Formation Bodily Functioning 
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  1. Freud, S. (1910), The Psycho-Analyitic View of Psychogenic Disturbance of Vision. Standard Edition, 11: 209–219.Google Scholar
  2. Gaddini, E. (1981), Note sul problems mente-corpo.Revista di Psicoanalisi, 27: 3–29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renata De Benedetti Gaddini
    • 1
  1. 1.University “La Sapienza”RomeItaly

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