The Embodied Analyst : From Freud and Reich to Relationality

By Jon Sletvold

ISBN-13: 978-0415856195
Relational Perspectives Book Series
Publisher: Routledge
2015 Gradiva Award Winner

The Embodied Analyst brings together the history of embodied analysis found in the work of Freud and Reich and contemporary relational analysis, particularly as influenced by infant research. By integrating the ‘old’ embodied and the ‘new’ relational traditions, the book contributes to a new clinical perspective focusing on form and process rather than content and structure – the ‘how’, rather than the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. This perspective is characterised by a focus on movement, emotional interaction and the therapists own bodily experience in the analytic encounter.

Jon Sletvold presents a user-friendly approach to embodied experience, providing the history, theory, training and practice of embodied experience and expression as a way of expanding clinical attention. Starting with a Spinozan view of the embodied mind, Part I: History of Embodied Psychoanalysis presents an overview of the history of the field in the works of Freud and Reich as well as a look at the Norwegian Character Analytic tradition. Part II: Conceptual Framework and Clinical Guidelines explains how clinical interaction can be navigated based on the embodied concepts of subjectivity, intersubjectivity and reflexivity. Part III: Embodied Training and Supervision presents innovative approaches to training in emotional communication inspired by the performing arts. The book ends with a consideration of the embodied analyst in the 21st century consulting room.

Capturing key aspects of a transitional movement in the development of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, The Embodied Analyst is ideal for those working and training in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

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Editorial Review

‘In this lucid, judicious, and important book, Jon Sletvold integrates material from contemporary neuroscience, attachment and infant research, philosophy, and the history of psychoanalysis to give his reader an analyst for the twenty-first century. Through his reading of Freud’s body ego and affect theory, as well as Reich’s character analysis, Sletvold revisits the corporeal foundations of psychoanalytic thought and creates links among ideas that have often been perceived as incompatible. He further contextualizes these theories in light of more recent work on intersubjectivity in various fields and demonstrates their pragmatic importance with illuminating stories from his own work with patients and training analysis. Finally, Sletvold’s consistently undogmatic, intellectually open, and compassionate explication of the implicit and explicit dynamics between analyst and patient is a pleasure to read.’ – Siri Hustvedt

About the Author

Jon Sletvold is a licensed specialist in clinical psychology and psychotherapy. He was founding Board Director and is currently Faculty, Training and Supervising Analyst at the Norwegian Character Analytic Institute. He is former chair of the Psychotherapy Speciality Board of the Norwegian Psychological Association.