Psychotherapy
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the NetChild and Adolescent Treatment for Social Work PracticeChoosing an Online TherapistChronic DepressionClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCompassionConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCoping with BPDCouch FictionCounseling in GenderlandCounseling with Choice TheoryCouple SkillsCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating HysteriaCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDeafness In MindDecoding the Ethics CodeDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeep Brain StimulationDemystifying TherapyDepression 101Depression in ContextDialogues on DifferenceDissociative ChildrenDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow Clients Make Therapy WorkHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPillar of SaltPlan BPlato, Not Prozac!Polarities of ExperiencesPower GamesPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersPsychotherapy Is Worth ItPsychotherapy Isn't What You ThinkPsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy without the SelfPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyRapid Cognitive TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy of HopeThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe UnsayableThe Way of the JournalTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapy with ChildrenTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThinking for CliniciansThinking for CliniciansThoughts Without a ThinkerThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreating Attachment DisordersTreatment for Chronic DepressionTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersUnderstanding Child MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy

Related Topics
When the Body SpeaksReview - When the Body Speaks
The Archetypes in the Body
by Mara Sidoli
Routledge, 2000
Review by Heather C. Liston
Apr 19th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 16)

Mara Sidoli, a child and adult analyst specializing in infant observation and the study of mother-infant relationships, explains in her introduction that this book is intended to "link Jung's concepts of the self and instinctual archetypal drives to Michael Fordham's concepts of the primary self and infant development." Fordham was Sidoli's own analyst, and his idea of the "primary self"refers to the "totality of the psyche and soma in a germinal state."

But wait--don't go away. In spite of a fair amount of unnecessary jargon, this book is neither incomprehensible nor dull. In layman's terms, the thesis of the book seems to be this: Carl Jung developed the idea of the "archetype," which is "the innate predisposition to experience life according to certain patterns." Michael Fordham believed "that archetypes were activated at the onset of life, from within the womb" and that Jung's theories could be applied to infancy and childhood. (So did Jung, by the way, so it's not entirely clear what's new about Fordham's ideas.) Sidoli studied with Fordham and has gone on to do her own observation, analysis, and research on infants and young children. Through her clinical work, she sees first-hand how the earliest experiences of babies--and particularly their relationships with their mothers--affect their later lives.

The result is some absorbing stories of people who had difficult or inadequate relations with their mothers in very early life and have to learn to live with, or overcome, the effects of those experiences later. Since no-one among us had a perfect infancy or an infallible mother, the book has a sort of universality that makes it intriguing. Many people will experience moments of recognition in these stories, and find interpretations they can apply to their own lives. Probably all babies experience moments of terror and feelings of abandonment. And probably all mothers experience some depression, anxiety, and fears about how to care for their new babies. Sidoli, incidentally, is compassionate toward mothers. She does not imply that perfection in mothering is necessary--she works from an ideal of the "good-enough mother"--and in her therapy practice she helps mothers learn to improve their relationships with their offspring for the sake of both parties.

Given the interesting subject matter, and the insight Sidoli often shows in her descriptions of patients and of therapeutic methods, it is disappointing when she muddies her work by descending into jargon and dissertation-speak. This, for example:

"In our culture, the new parents and the professionals involved in the birth are denied psychic space in which to process and work through the emotional experience and their ambivalent feelings about it." Whose culture? (Sidoli herself is an Italian living in Las Cruces, New Mexico where, in some ways at least, she must feel like a culture of one.) And who is the nameless force doing the denying? What, exactly, is "processing"? Is it really true that someone, at some time, has been able to do more and better "processing" than parents here and now? The use of the passive voice, especially in such vague and accusatory ways, suggests the worst of academic style.

And yet, when Sidoli tells stories of actual patients with whom she has worked, the book brightens up immediately. The patients described here range from the nearly newborn to the age of seventy-something. There is Barry, a toddler born to a hard-rock musician and a mother who thinks she needs to "toughen up" her son. She puts up literal and psychological barriers to keep the boy from getting too close to her, until he learns that the only way to get her to respond is to become violent. There is Hannah, whose psychotic mother is hospitalized through much of her childhood. Hannah dutifully meets all the demands of her sick mother, her exacting father, her sexually abusive grandfather, and her needy siblings until she seems to have no means of expressing her self except through her body. She develops severe backaches which do not begin to ease until she enters analysis in her late thirties and starts to understand the extremity and unreasonableness of the life she has been leading. And Michael, who, in his seventies, still allows himself to be physically abused by his wife because he has not learned to break a pattern that began with his mother.

The process of reading the book goes something like this: the reader becomes engrossed in a lucid and affecting personal story. She begins to empathize with the characters and yearns to know more about their development. Then, all too soon, she is bounced out of the story and into Sidoli's interpretation of it. She reads sentences like "The deintegrative phase is followed by a digestive phase called reintegration" and "in her unconscious a negative archetypal field would be constellated." She sees the author refer to the screaming of a baby as an "affect-loaded somatization." And if the reader is not writing a Ph.D. dissertation herself and looking for some key phrases to dump in, her attention begins to wander.

Do we need words like "constellated"and "cathecting"? Both are back-formations, and both have synonyms in common English. True, Jung himself used versions of "constellate" but still . . . it would be nice to see a woman of Sidoli's capability apply the analytic lessons of the master while also standing for clarity in the writing. Certain other words ("encoprectic," "reintegrative") do not appear in standard dictionaries and one wonders whether they truly add value to the text.

Some of the most interesting material appears in the penultimate chapter of this slim volume (119 pages in all), which is called "When the Meaning Gets Lost in the Body." This chapter offers some fascinating examples of "psychosomatic" patients, those who express psychological problems through physical suffering and illness. In service to these people, Sidoli disagrees with the belief of some professionals that psychosomatic patients are unanalyzable. "I have come to believe," she says, "that analysis can be done, but only after the meaning has been extracted from the physical symptom and redirected into the psychic field." There is good and valuable work here, although a lay person may need a little help interpreting it all.

First Serial Rights © 2001 Heather Liston



Heather Liston studied Religion at Princeton University and earned a Masters degree from the NYU Graduate School of Business Administration. She is the Managing Director of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico, and writes extensively on a variety of topics. Her book reviews and other work have appeared in Self, Women Outside, The Princeton Alumni Weekly, Appalachia, Your Health and elsewhere.


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716