Minding the Body: The Body in Psychoanalysis and Beyond outlines the value of a psychoanalytic approach to understanding the body and its vicissitudes and for addressing these in the context of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. The chapters cover a broad but esoteric range of subjects that are not often discussed within psychoanalysis such as the function of breast augmentation surgery, the psychic origins of hair, the use made of the analyst’s toilet, transsexuality and the connection between dermatological conditions and necrophilic fantasies. The book also reaches ‘beyond the couch’ to consider the nature of reality television makeover show.

The book is based on the Alessandra Lemma’s extensive clinical experience as a psychoanalyst and psychologist working in a range of public and private health care settings with patients for whom the body is the primary presenting problem or who have made unconscious use of the body to communicate their psychic pain. Minding the Body draws on detailed clinical examples that vividly illustrate how the author approaches these clinical presentations in the consulting room and, as such, provides insights to the practicing clinician that will support their attempts at formulating patients’ difficulties psychoanalytically and for how to helps such patients. It will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health workers, academics and literary readers interested in the body, sexuality and gender.

chapter |22 pages


When the body speaks

chapter 1|18 pages

Envy and the maternal body

The psychodynamics of cosmetic surgery

chapter 2|16 pages

Whose skin is it anyway?

Some reflections on the psychic function of necrophilic fantasies

chapter 3|17 pages

An order of pure decision

Growing up in a virtual world and the adolescent’s experience of being-in-a-body

chapter 4|14 pages

Present without past

The disruption of temporal integration in a case of adolescent transsexuality

chapter 5|14 pages

The body one has and the body one is

The transsexual’s need to be seen

chapter 6|9 pages

Trauma and the body

A psychoanalytic reading of Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In

chapter 7|17 pages

The body of the analyst and the analytic setting

Reflections on the embodied setting and the symbiotic transference

chapter 8|15 pages

Rapunzel revisited

Untangling the unconscious meaning of hair

chapter 9|17 pages

Off the couch, into the toilet

Exploring the psychic uses of the analyst’s toilet

chapter 10|9 pages

Entrepreneurs of the self

Some psychoanalytic reflections on the psychic and social functions of reality TV makeover shows