The somatic symptom as one’s object: Applying fairbairn’s theory of internal object relations and winnicott’s conceptualization of the psyche-and-soma

Ofrit Shapira-Berman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The author discusses Winnicott’s theory (1949/1975) of the psyche-soma and Fairbairn’s (1944) theory of internal object relations, bringing them together to enrich our perspective of one’s somatization. By focusing on how the patient takes care, attends, experiences, and feels toward the symptom, the analyst can better understand the patient’s early object-relations. This allows analyst and patient to rethink the symptom in terms of the patient’s early traumas and one’s capacity to mourn the loss of the love-object. Fairbairn’s conceptualizations of the “rejecting,” “alluring,” and “addictive” object-relations are combined with Winnicott’s understanding of the split between psyche and soma, following the ill-adaptation of the mother to the baby’s earliest emotional needs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)337-361
Number of pages25
JournalPsychoanalytic Review
Volume108
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 N.P.A.P.

Keywords

  • Melancholia
  • Mourning
  • Object-relations
  • Psyche-soma
  • Somatization

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