The Human Body

We started with our thoughts and responses to the idea of what it means to be human as both embodied and em-brained. Neuroscience is illuminating the interconnectivity of body and brain at the deepest and until now most mysterious level.  As we peer in we see critical networks fizzing, popping, flashing as body and brain speak back and forth to each other via nerves, muscles and cells.

‘The mind stalks the flesh, from our muscles we steal our moods’

We liked the expression of a 21st century neuroscientist ‘The mind stalks the flesh, from our muscles we steal our moods’ And ‘Moods and feeling states are an emulsion of thought and flesh’. Thoughts and ideas pass through the vessel of the body before coming back altered to the brain and register as a state or feeling.

We debated the use of the word malfunction to describe the way the body can express emotional and psychological distress that cannot be tolerated or felt in any other way. The body remembers what the mind cannot.

Perhaps it is functional and safer that the body protects the mind by passing out or blanking out rather than breaking down psychically? Perhaps it is OK to have to manage IBS, migraine, a bad back rather than a severe depression or a psychotic episode?

We thought about therapies that work with the body in an immediate and direct way, such as EMDR and Body synthesis therapy, and how helpful this can be for us and our patients at times, bypassing a mind that is too torturous and troubled it can’t help us out only further in to the distress.

Towards the end we thought about the newborn baby as the ultimate body/psychic matrix. In babyhood the mother, and then later the other and the world beyond, is experienced through the body. The neonate feeds, cries, regurgitates, evacuates, and is soothed and rocked and held by mother’s mind as well as her body. We pondered with some wonder how this physicality houses the development of the mind as the baby learns to separate and discover, not it’s mothers’ borrowed mind but, a mind of its own. We linked this to the life long endeavour to be both separate and autonomous whilst in connection with others. The see-saw between fearing either engulfment or abandonment.

Dee Fleming introduced the Café Psychologique on BODIES in the November 2014.


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