The Psychosomatic Therapy Casebook: Stories from the Intersection of Mind and Body

Author(s) : Jean Benjamin Stora

The Psychosomatic Therapy Casebook: Stories from the Intersection of Mind and Body

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Jean Benjamin Stora has worked as a psychoanalyst and psychosomatist for almost five decades. The aim of integrative psychosomatics is to heal the body and mind in relationship to one another rather than treating the body as a machine with parts to be fixed. Thus, Stora explores a patient’s current and past life history in relation to physical illness and offers therapeutic support alongside medical treatments. To better understand this revolutionary approach, Stora presents fifteen case studies from the past twenty years. We read of George suffering from hyperlipidemia; Giles, a diabetic facing amputation; Elvira, an alcoholic; Dorothy, who complains the doctors treat body parts but not her; Beatrice facing a reappearance of breast cancer; and ten further patients. This complex process takes into account the fundamental role of the central nervous system in the relationship of mind and body. Thus, neuroscience is a key component of this holistic approach, as well as the new discipline of neuropsychoanalysis. This is most clearly shown in the case of Emma, suffering after brain surgery.

The Psychosomatic Therapy Casebook is an excellent introduction to integrative psychosomatics. The stories presented in the first four chapters can be read by anyone with an interest in the subject. The fifth and final chapter is aimed at psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, and doctors looking to gain a greater understanding of the practice. It contains a comprehensive review of the technical points involved and clearly shows the difference between psychoanalytic technique and the technique of psychosomatic therapy. This is an important book in learning to treat the person as a whole rather than split into mind and body.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Jean Benjamin Stora was President of the Paris Psychosomatic School in the 1990s. Subsequently, his work at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital led him to develop a new discipline, integrative psychosomatics. It was based on a scientific model called “metapsychosomatics”, which supports the tension of knowledge between three disciplines: biomedicine, neuroscience and metapsychology. Following on from his previous works, this book explains the model and its paradigm in which the individual is perceived and investigated as a whole, in other words, as a “psychosomatic unit”. Through fifteen clinical cases, Stora exposes the clinical and therapeutic orientations at play. This is an important book for doctors, clinicians, and psychological practitioners. It carries an obvious yet often overlooked message: that the care of patients should not focus solely on the sick organ or biological system as separate from mind and spirit, but should also focus on taking care of the person behind the illness.’
Dr L. Naccache, Professor at the Psychosomatic School of the Pitié-Salpêtrière

'There are five themes in the book, each illustrated with vignettes. Together, you get a clear picture of what, I would say, is the third generation of psychosomatics. [...] I have read this book with pleasure. The chosen cases well illustrate the breadth of Stora’s approach. His practical advice and the appendices are down to earth and I think usable. Solms’s recommendations for the first two books are also applicable to this book: a worthwhile read.'
H. S. K. Boerboom, Neuropsychoanalysis, Apr 2024

Table of Contents

About the author

A mysterious word: “psychosomatics”

Chapter One
Doctors, patients, and mind therapists

Chapter Two
“A good enough mother”

Chapter Three
Serious illness and pain

Chapter Four
Psychosomatic enigmas

Chapter Five
From the originality of psychosomatic psychotherapy

From the clinic of psychoanalysis to that of psychosomatic therapy

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3

About the Author(s)

Jean Benjamin Stora is a psychoanalyst and psychosomatician, and a consultant in psychosomatics at la Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris. In 2006 he established the university diploma in integrative psychosomatics, psychoanalysis, medicine and the neurosciences, which he co-directs at the Faculté de Médecine, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6. He was president of the Pierre Marty Institute of Psychosomatics from 1989 to 1992, and of the Société Française de Médecine Psychosomatique from 2000 to 2002. He is the author of many books, including Le Stress, Quand le corps prend la relève: stress traumatismes et maladies somatiques, Vivre avec une greffe: accueillir l'autre, Neuropsychanalyse, Controverses et Dialogues, When the Body Displaces the Mind, and La nouvelle approche psychosomatique: cas cliniques.

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