The Poetics of the Body

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How does having a body influence our thinking in regards to our theory making, the use of language, and engaging certain registers of relational experiences, including the transference and counter-transference? Course participants will engage with the psychodynamic literature and poetry to elaborate our ideas about the body and embodiment in our clinical work.

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5 Sessions: Tuesdays, Apr 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 2019

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

BPSI, 141 Herrick Road

Newton Centre, MA 02459

This course is open to licensed mental health clinicians and trainees on the path to licensure. Continuing education credits are offered for physicians, psychologists, and social workers.

The Poetics of the Body


Discussions about the presence of physicality and having a body are finding their way into the office and our psychoanalytic literature. While it has been common to look at the body with medically and characterologically ill patients, there has been less attention given to the body as the register of experiential encounters within the therapeutic process. How does having a body influence our thinking in regards to our theory making, the use of language, and engaging certain registers of relational experiences, including the transference and counter-transference? As we engage the psychodynamic literature, and work with poetry, we will elaborate our ideas and experiences about the body and embodiment in our clinical work. Participants are encouraged to bring clinical and experiential knowledge to class to further our understanding of the theoretical material. [The title of this course is obtained from Hoffman, A. G. “ Is Psychoanalysis a Poetics of the Body?” in American Imago. It refers to Arisotole’s notion of poetics as the art that uses language as its medium.]



Lucinda DiDomenico, MD -- Psychoanalyst Member, Co-Chair of the Academic Lecture Committee, and Faculty of the Advanced Training Program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (ATP) and Explorations in Mind programs, BPSI. Supervisor, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts Medical Center. Private practice in Newton Centre, MA.


Learning Objectives
After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe your understanding of how somatic experiences and embodiment contribute to your work with patients.
  2. Describe how in the respective papers, feminist theory and the neurosciences have elaborated the influences of the body in our psychoanalytic theory making.
  3. Describe the contribution of each paper regarding its understanding how the body contributes to the development of language of psychic experience.
  4. Describe two ways in which two bodies in the therapeutic space contribute to transference and relational issues.
  5. Describe how somatic counter-transference may be used in therapeutic work with patients.


De Toffoli, C. (2011). The living body in the psychoanlaytic experience. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 80(3):595-618.

Gallese, V. (2015). Which neurosciences and which psychoanalysis? Intersubjectivity and bodyily self: Notes for a dialogue. Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 9:189-203.

Gubb, K. (2014). Craving interpretation: A case of somatic countertransference. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(1):51-67.

Hansbury, G. (2018). The masculine vaginal: Working with queer men's embodiment at the transgender edge. JAPA, 65(6):1009-1031.



7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Lecture/Presentation; 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm: Group Discussion.

Continuing Education

Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physician. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 7.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose

Psychologists: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This program fulfills the requirements for 7.5 hours of CE.

Please note: Per APA requirements, psychologists must attend 100% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Social Workers: Application for social work continuing education has been submitted. Please contact us at or 617-266-0953 for the status of the social work CE accreditation. 

Please note: Per NASW requirements, social workers must attend 80% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Licensed Mental Health Clinicians: NBCC credits are not available for this course.

Please note: Licensed Mental Health Clinicians may request continuing education credit on an individual basis from NBCC, through their Continuing Education Credit Verification process.

Cancellation Policies & Procedures
Any program participant requesting their individual program registration be canceled, must submit their request in writing via email to Drew Brydon at For fee-based events, a request for cancellation (and refund using the original form of payment) must be received no later than 48 hours in advance of the event. Requests received later than 48 hours prior to the event will not be processed or accepted. All approved refunds are subject to a $10.00 administrative fee.

If BPSI cancels an event, all registrants will receive a full refund of fees paid (no administration charge) no later than two business days following the scheduled date of the event, using the original form of payment.

Grievance Policy
Please address any questions or concerns about your experience at this or any program or event you have attended at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute to the Program Chair, via the Senior Administrator/Director of Continuing Education, BPSI, 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459;; 617.266.0953.

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Inc., 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459, does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or handicap in the admissions, administration of its educational programs, scholarship and loan programs or employment.





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