Monday, 28 October 2013

Minding the Ecological Body: Neuropsychoanalysis and Ecopsychoanalysis, Dodds (2013), Frontiers in Psychology. 4:125

Minding the ecological body: neuropsychoanalysis and ecopsychoanalysis

  • University of New York in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic


Neuropsychoanalysis explores experimentally and theoretically the philosophically ancient discussion of the relation of mind and body, and seems well placed to overcome the problem of a “mindless” neuroscience and a “brainless” psychology and psychotherapy, especially when combined with a greater awareness that the body itself, not only the brain, provides the material substrate for the emergent phenomenon we call mind. However, the mind-brain-body is itself situated within a complex ecological world, interacting with other mind-brain-bodies and the “non-human environment.” This occurs both synchronically and diachronically as the organism and its environment (living and non-living) interact in highly complex often non-linear ways. Psychoanalysis can do much to help unmask the anxieties, deficits, conflicts, phantasies, and defenses crucial in understanding the human dimension of the ecological crisis. Yet, psychoanalysis still largely remains not only a “psychology without biology,” which neuropsychoanalysis seeks to remedy, but also a “psychology without ecology.” Ecopsychoanalysis (Dodds, 2011b; Dodds and Jordan, 2012) is a new transdisciplinary approach drawing on a range of fields such as psychoanalysis, psychology, ecology, philosophy, science, complexity theory, esthetics, and the humanities. It attempts to play with what each approach has to offer in the sense of a heterogeneous assemblage of ideas and processes, mirroring the interlocking complexity, chaos, and turbulence of nature itself. By emphasizing the way the mind-brain-body studied by neuropsychoanalysis is embedded in wider social and ecological networks, ecopsychoanalysis can help open up the relevance of neuropsychoanalysis to wider fields of study, including those who are concerned with what Wilson (2003) called “the future of life.”
Keywords: Chaos, complexity, neuropsychoanalysis, ecopsychoanalysis, ecology, climate change, psychoanalysis, Guattari
Full Text: pdf, enhanced pdf

Citation: Dodds J (2013) Minding the ecological body: neuropsychoanalysis and ecopsychoanalysis. Front. Psychol. 4:125. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00125
Received: 11 November 2012; Accepted: 26 February 2013; 
Published online: 25 March 2013.
Edited by:
Denis Mellier, Université de Franche-Comté, France
Reviewed by:
Philippe Claudon, Université de Lorraine, France
Claire Squires, Université Denis Diderot Paris Département Etudes Psychanalytiques, France
Copyright: © 2013 Dodds. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Joseph Dodds, University of New York in Prague, Legerova 619/72, Vinohrady, Prague 2 120 00, Czech Republic. e-mail:
Based on a poster presentation first shown at the International Neuropsychoanalysis Congress, Berlin 2011.