Pascal-Henri Keller

Discussion between Body and Mind Publication date : March 16, 2006

The split between body and mind would seem to have become practically intuitive. We often describe ourselves as being made up of two distinct parts: the physical and the psychic. What are the results of this divided self-image? Is it possible to reconcile body and mind? Do we need to rediscover a feeling of wholeness?
Each individual expression of this duality is echoed in human history: through speech and language. This book relates our quest to discover the power that language has over us and it attempts to draw new limits for mind and body.
“He needs to be given a good shake”, “This is driving me crazy”, “I’m wiped out”: expressions such as these refer to mental states as much as to physical ones. We seem to be able to separate — and then reunite — our bodies and minds at will. But is this exercise as harmless as it would seem at first sight?
The author reviews a number of cases that illustrate the power of words over the body: he describes a patient whose depression was poorly treated with medication, another whose failure of inspiration was cured through language, a diabetic whose illness was stabilised through psychotherapy.
He shows us how we can learn to know ourselves better.

Pascal-Henri Keller is a psychoanalyst and teaches at the University of Poitiers. He is the author of La médecine psychosomatique en question (2005).