Connective Tissue: the Psychosomatic Matrix

My primary focus with patients has always been the relationship between their body and mind. Following the pioneering work of the Austrian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, I have spent almost 50 years trying to understand how these two seemingly different realms can be so inherently intertwined in their functioning, what Freud called the “mysterious leap”; from psychic activity to physical manifestations of these psychic phenomena in the body. Over the last 30 years it has become clear that connective tissue’s structure and functioning is the bridge between psyche and soma. Immediately, questions arise, What could connective tissue possibly have to do with the psychic realm? How could connective tissue (CT) be involved in solving the body/mind conundrum?”

Connective tissue is the primary tissue from the beginning of life itself. All later evolutionary developments and functions occur within this sea of cells, fibers and ground substance. Even nervous activity is dependent on its structure and functioning. This is evident from the fact that various manipulations of different forms of connective tissue — even in the “non-psychological” manual therapies such as Rolfing, massage etc. — can result in memories, emotions and spontaneous movements emerging. So either touching the body connects with “psychic" brain based memories or working psychically activates the memories stored in the body. Either way one formulates it — top-down, or bottom-up — they are directed connected. In Functionally Analysis its clear that a bottom-up model is called for. Live exists without the “top”; cognition, representation, language and meaning.