8.06.2012


"paul schilder, an early gestalt psychologist, gives us an idea of what happens when his patients have disturbed body images, in particular when these images lack wholeness.  he argues that disturbed body images have some part in the development of almost every neurosis.  in one detailed example, 'a case of loss of unity in the body-image,' the patient reports:
when i get this anxiety state i cannot walk further.  i run into myself.  it breaks me into pieces.  i am like a spray.  i lose my centre of gravity.  i have no weight.  i am quite mechanical.  i have gone to pieces.  i am like a marionette.  i lack something to hold me together.
"schilder describes other cases:
the patient sees his face in the mirror changed, rigid, and distorted.  his own voice seems strange and unfamiliar to him, and he shudders at the sounds of it as if it were not himself speaking.  gottfried feels that his movements are interrupted.  his body feels as if it were dead and he has a sensation that a dynamo is hissing in his head.  the body feels too light, just as if it could fly.  a patient of loewry's says, "i feel the body not for me but for itself." the patients look for their limbs in the bed.  a patient of pick's complains that his eyes are like two holes through which he looks.
"although these compelling experiences of bodily fragmentation frequently accompany neurosis, schilder contends that they are never far away from the everyday life of the normal person:
the important conclusion we may draw is that feeling our body intact is not a matter of course.  it is the effect of self-love.  when destructive tendencies go on, the body is spread over the world ... one wold like to say that we lose the unity of our body only under special pathological conditions; but we also have to remember how much the feeling of our body varies under normal conditions.  when we touch an object with a stick we feel with the end of the stick.  we feel that clothes eventually become a part of ourselves.  we build the picture of our body again and again.
~excerpt from emily martin, the woman in the body: a cultural analysis of reproduction)
~art: fragmented self 2, by jacob schere at lucid communications, via flickr