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Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy


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Table of Contents

Dedication, Acknowledgements. Introduction. My body is unhappy. The Radical and Tragic Vision of Wilhelm Reich. To enter the Gesture as Though a Dream: A psychoanalyst encounters the body. Hand to Hand: Touch enactment or touch analysis? Alien bodies: The search of desire. Traces of the Other: Encounters with character. The Silent Call: Reich, Winnicott, and the interrupted gesture. Rough and Tumble: Sensing, playing, and maturation. TAKE ME: Erotic vitality and disturbance. Why Have Sex? Character, Perversion, and Free Choice

About the Author

William F. Cornell maintains an independent private practice of psychotherapy and consultation in Pittsburgh, PA. In his practice and writing he has devoted 40 years to the study and integration of psychoanalysis, neo-Reichian body therapy and transactional analysis. As a Training and Supervising Transactional Analyst he has established an international reputation for his teaching and consultation.


Writing about 'body work'--the way a body knows something long before it could ever be 'put' into speech; indeed even if this were an imagined possibility--is as hazardous as writing about music. If you know a work of music, as in if you know the idiom of body speech, then this is not a problem. Only a few psychoanalysts have pressed ahead with a near impossible task. Reich--the only genius in psychoanalysis who understood the foundations of character--was one of them In his own seemingly modest way, William Cornell--known over decades as a man of great wisdom about body knowledge and how the analyst can speak to this--has finally committed himself to paper. His accomplishment, performed in a highly personal narrative and yet within a deeply ordered imperative is not simply unique: it is a one off. There will never be another work even remotely like this. A book of unsparing honesty and deeply devoted to the psychoanalytical project. - Christopher Bollas

This is a brilliant, bold and ground-breaking book. Cornell urges psychoanalytic clinicians to deepen and extend their work by paying closer attention to their patients' bodily experience, thus enabling them to find something beyond a secure base which he calls a `vital' base . He also brings passion and scholarship to the study of theory and the book achieves a major integration of, and development in, psychoanalytic theory. It is a great read, too. Anne Alvarez, PhD MACP. Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist.

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