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"Life makes shapes." So begins Emotional Anatomy, an original inquiry into the connections between anatomy and feeling. Keleman describes individual shape as a dynamic interaction between personal emotional history and genetic shape, an on-going process in which emotions, thoughts, and experiences are embodied. Structure, our personal form, is what orders the events of daily existence.
Without anatomy, emotions do not exist. Feelings are the glue that hold our shape together. This book revisions both anatomy and psychology. Traditional anatomy depicts images that are two-dimensional, ideas about nature rather than nature itself. The most important element, emotional life, is missed. At the same time, psychology, which is committed to the study of emotion, lacks anatomical understanding. Emotional Anatomy relates form to feeling. It asks how an individual functions without postulating somatic or psychological ideals.
The first half of Emotional Anatomy introduces embryology, the creation of human shape. Molecules and cells organize into clusters which further organize as layers, tubes, tunnels, and pouches giving structure to liquid life and setting the stage for human consciousness. A given shape is changed by a person's emotional history,the marks made by love and disappointments, insults and assaults, the challenges and stresses of existence.
The remainder of the book illustrates four basic patterns of somatic distress - rigid, dense, swollen, and collapsed - describes how they function, and offers possibilities for change. Life's challenges and an individual's response to them creates the shape he uses to express feelings of excitement, assertion, love, caring, sexuality. These feelings are the basis of human relationship and community.
Emotional Anatomy, with 120 original drawings and accompanying text, is invaluable to anyone who works in the helping professions, or to thoses interested in the nature of their bodily shape and emotional experience.
Stanley Keleman is a pioneer in the study of the body and its connection to the emotional, psychological, sexual, and imaginative aspects of human experience. He has been practicing and developing somatic psychology and is known for his innovative and groundbreaking work in this field. He maintains a private a group practice in Berkeley California and is director of the Center for Energetic Studies.