Mind the Body discusses the meaning of the body in health and medicine today.

Welcome to Mind the Body, an online platform dedicated to discussing issues that relate to “the body” in health and medicine. In the medical world there is little to no room for the various ways patients experience their treated, and often changed, bodies. This platform hopes to garner attention for the way people who have to deal with ailments and impairments endow meaning to their bodily existence.

This platform serves to share our findings and insights from Jenny Slatman’s research group (until 2016 at Maastricht University, and since 2017 at Tilburg University). In September 2017 we have started the new NWO-VICI project Mind the body: Rethinking embodiment in healthcare. Before this project, we completed the research project Bodily Integrity in Blemished Bodies, which ran from 2011 until 2016 and which was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), in the form of a Vidi grant. You can read more about both projects on this online platform.

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECT

MIND THE BODY: RETHINKING EMBODIMENT IN HEALTHCARE

This research project seeks to develop a broader view on the body in healthcare while criticizing the conception of the body as a biological, neurological thing: a machine. It assumes that if we can give words to how patients give meaning to their lives and world and how they learn and understand things through their body in their experiences of certain health problems, these problems can be more satisfactory approached. In order to test this claim, three major obstinate health issues will be scrutinized: medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS); obesity; and depression.

The project addresses the following questions:

How do people who are diagnosed with MUPS, obesity or depression make sense of their own body? Which conceptions of the mind or body are at stake in practices related to the treatment of MUPS, obesity or depression? How do people experience their body while being engaged in these practices? In what way do these practices affect their experiences of their body?

“When I meet women who are missing a breast, I wonder if they are still able to experience a sense of bodily wholeness. In my research I want to offer these women the opportunity to describe this. I want to create an open forum to discuss this bodily experience.”
Jenny Slatman
“My aim is to demand attention for embodiment in health and medicine (…) You can view the body as a thing, but it also has an entirely different dimension: you not only have it, you are it. That is what my research tends to cover; how people experience their bodies.”
Jenny Slatman