7 May 22

Date: 7 May 22

Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Location: Online Zoom

Jung, Fordham, Winnicott and The Body in the Consulting Room: Robert Withers

In this series of seminars Bob Withers will look at some of the difficulties we can encounter as therapists when working with early relational trauma that has become encapsulated in the body. The seminars will explore some of the therapeutic implications of Winnicott’s work on ‘Fear of breakdown’ and the impact of that fear on the mind body relationship. Bob will be arguing that mind body dissociation can constitute a ‘defence of the self’ in Fordham’s sense. But there is a simultaneous impulse to reunite mind and body that can also be understood as an ‘act of the self’ or drive towards individuation. Bob will illustrate how, to help the patient master these opposing forces and reintegrate dysregulated affects, the therapist must be prepared to work with similar areas of ‘madness’ or fear of breakdown in the countertransference.

07/05/2022 Seminar 1 Winnicott; fear of breakdown and the mind body relationship. Papers would include Winnicott’s (1963?) fear of breakdown and Ogden’s (2014) explanation of that paper as well as an outline of Winnicott’s work on mind body dissociation.

11/06/2022 Seminar 2 Fordham; Defences of the self and the search for psychosomatic wholeness. Sidoli’s (1993) paper ‘When meaning gets lost in the body’ would be useful.

09/07/2022 Seminar 3 Autistic encapsulation and the projection of primitive agony into the body. Nissen’s 2018 paper ‘Hypochondria as an actual neurosis’ would be useful here.


Robert Withers
is a training analyst and lecturer with the SAP. In his earlier career, as a complementary therapist, he encountered many patients with medically unexplained symptoms. This led to an interest in psychosomatic illness and the mind body relationship. He has taught, researched, and written widely on this and related subjects. His application of some of these ideas to psychotherapeutic work with gender dysphoric individuals has led to a more recent series of papers and lectures on transgendered states