on Body Image
DAVID W. KRUEGER
The body and its evolving mental representations form the foundation of a sense of self. While Freud recognized the ego as, first and foremost, a body ego, the more inclusive term "body self" refers to a combination of the psychic experience of body sensation, body functioning, and body image. Thus body image is the dynamically and developmentally evolving mental representation of the body self.
The body appears in the narratives of dreams, metaphors, and symptoms as a symbolic vision of inner landscapes, mysterious structures and configurations, and geographical terrain. An idea as well as a fact, the body is container and conduit of emotional experience, and the body image a Rorschach onto which fantasies, meaning, and significance are projected. The body self and image are ideas, like that of the ego; the body is a fact. The body self and its image are created by, and live within, the imagination, the map within the actual territory of the body. We experience life through the body and focus with it but not usually on it, for the body is usually in the background. People who are unattuned to their affective world may not have a way of understanding some of the affective states they experience; they may lack a representation of body self and psychological self that would allow them to integrate these emotions. Such individuals make their bodies the narrator of what words cannot say: of sensation for which there is no lexicon, of feelings they cannot tolerate in their conscious awareness, and of action language (i.e., speaking of action rather than feelings) rather than verbalization. When the body cannot be naturally integrated into psycho-
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice. Contributors: Thomas F. Cash - Editor, Thomas Pruzinsky - Editor. Publisher: Guilford Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 30.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.