SFCP Book Corner
by Mary Brady, PhD
This month we are reviving an old feature of the Newsletter—Book Corner—in which members are invited to share brief descriptions of their recent publications (i.e., books). Please feel free to share news of your work here (submit to Cathy Witzling and Lynda Connelly by the 26th of the month). We begin with a description of a new work by Mary Brady, PhD, published by Routledge Press.
The Body in Adolescence: Psychic Isolation and Physical Symptoms, examines the affective experience of psychic I solation as an important and painful element of adolescent development. It begins by discussing how psychic isolation, combined with the intensity of adolescent processes, can leave adolescents unable to articulate their experience. The book then shows how the therapist can understand and help adolescents whose difficulty with articulation and symbolization can leave them vulnerable to breakdown into physical symptoms.
This book introduces the concept of psychic isolation during adolescence in the first chapter and links this isolation (from internal and external objects) with the vulnerability to physical symptoms. Subsequent chapters are clinical essays involving adolescent patients presenting with bodily expressions such as anorexia, bulimia, cutting, substance abuse, and suicide attempts. Attention is also paid to adolescents’ use of social media in relation to these bodily symptoms – such as their use of on-line ‘pro-ana’ or cutting sites. The book uses Bion’s conceptualization of containment and the balance of psychotic versus integrative parts of the personality to examine the emergence of concrete bodily symptoms in adolescence.