Working with the Bodily Unconscious: Somatic Narration as a Method to Anchor the Working-Through in the Body-Self - Sebastian Leikert (Live)

December 1, 2023


Continuing education information to follow

Severely disturbed patients often show bodily symptoms relating to unrepresented states. These states result from traumatic breakdown of the patient’s ability to symbolize but also from a traumatic disorganization of the patient’s body-self. The psychoanalytic technique of interpreting the chain of free associations is in danger to overlook these encapsulated body engrams. Somatic narration describes a focused attention on the patient’s proprioception. His or her way of perceiving the disorganized body-self keeps the memory of traumatic interaction, mostly in early childhood, and places it in the focus of a shared attention within the therapeutic couple.

In my presentation, I describe the therapeutic path with a young male adolescent patient suffering from emotional instability, suicidality, and self-injury. Establishing therapeutic contact with his perception of disorganized bodily states led to relief from suicidal pressure. Working through these bodily sensations in a resonant presence of the therapist who privileges perception over interpretation in these episodes, played an important role in alleviating the intense fear of annihilation and helped him overcome states of autoaggression leading to self-injury in the past. I will describe the inner dynamics and structure of the bodily unconscious and the ways in which somatic narration and verbal interpretation can be brought into a fruitful relationship.


Target Audience

______ Introductory                ___X___ Intermediate                  ___ ___ Advanced

Learning Objectives

Explain the inner organization of bodily organized defense structures (encapsulated body engrams).

Apply a method for dealing therapeutically with encapsulated body engrams, being the traces of traumatization in the body-self

Identify when this kind of work is indicated and how it becomes accessible.


Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
12/01/2023 - 6:30pm EST
Event ends: 
12/01/2023 - 8:00pm EST

Dr Sebastian Leikert is a practicing Psychoanalyst and Training Analyst based in Saarbrücken in Germany. His research interests include the psychoanalysis of music and the relationship between aesthetical and psychical processes. ‘For Beauty is nothing but the barely endurable onset of Terror’ – outline of a general psychoanalytic aesthetics’ International Journal of Psychoanalysis (2017). He is also the Chairman and co-founder of the German Society for Psychoanalysis and Music. His main research interest concerns traces of traumatization in the body-self and the integration of the body-memory into psychoanalytic technique. Encapsulated Body Engrams and Somatic Narration - Integrating body memory into psychoanalytic technique. International Journal of Psychoanalysis (2021). Unrepresented States and the Bodily Encoded Unconscious. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly (2023). He is founder and chairman of the DPV/IPA study-group body-self – transformation - technique of treatment.

Austen Riggs Center Inc. adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. All those at Austen Riggs Center involved in the planning of this activity, including the presenter(s) listed above, report they have no relevant financial relationships with an ineligible company*.

The views and opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Austen Riggs Center.


* An ineligible company is any entity whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.


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