Author: Karen L. Lombardi Ph.D.
Both research and clinical data suggest that somatic symptomatology is a frequent correlate of depressive states. Classic psychoanalytic theory has attempted to address the mind-body dualism common in Western thought by regarding somatization as an unconscious expression, through bodily discharge, of thoughts and feelings unacceptable to the individual. Developmental and object relations perspectives tend to relate somatization to problems with the ability to contain depressive affect. The somatic defense serves to mitigate the guilt, blame, and self-hatred that arise when depressive affect cannot be tolerated in the individual.