A Neuropsychoanalytic Approach to Case Studies

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Neuropsychoanalysis is an interdisciplinary field that attempts to generate links between psychoanalytic schools and the neurosciences. Historically speaking, neuropsychoanalysis emerged as a response to ‘cognitive’ views of the mind/brain problem, which tended to neglect the influence of emotional and instinctual processes in the constitution, and functioning, of the human mind. Since its origins, neuropsychoanalysis has used case studies, of brain injured individuals undergoing psychoanalytic treatment, to explore how focal damage to specific brain areas is related to changes in non-cognitive domains of the mind, such as emotion, motivation or personality. This approach is a useful contribution to the neurosciences since it allows observing, at the same time, objective and subjective aspects of the mind/brain, thus bridging third and first person methodologies. In this article a neuropsychoanalytic approach to case studies is introduced, describing both its historical roots as well as its present status. Then, a brief case study, of a man with focal damage to the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex, who presented with changes in his capacity to intrinsically regulate feelings, is used to exemplify this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-214
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017
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