Born in 1951, I grew up in the privileged atmosphere of a bourgeois Parisian family. The starting point in my social life was when I passed my baccalaureat in 1968. I obtained my first university grade in the 1968 baccalaureat and I registered with the medical university, still in Paris. I wanted to become a doctor with the idea of protecting life, recognising when it stepped out of line and ensuring that it didn’t drown itself from within, no less that flooding itself from without.
Taking full responsibility for my youthful independence, obviously it was imperative that I finance my studies by working as a temporary duty nurse. As a young member of the « nursing staff », this closeness to the reality of these patients confined to their beds introduced me to human justice in relation to nursing: I felt myself to be useful and welcome. This daily encounter with the patients caused me to ask myself questions to such an extent that, throughout my years of theoretical medicine, I was never able to opt for a university career. My motivation in learning medical science was rather one of understanding and relieving the ailments that came to my notice. However, my intellectual capacity which was evaluated as very positive allowed me to complete my series of exams. So, being designated as apt, I presented my state doctoral thesis in June 1978.
Finally, during the thirty years during which I have been studying and practising medicine and the social sciences at university (most specially working with high performance sportspeople) each stage has inspired me to divert my interest towards an innovation. These interludes are my signature, my way of using the knowledge that have strengthened my credentials, while continuing my training as a healer/carer: though their declension of the concept of « holding », they make up the connecting threads of my personal growth towards humanity.
Thanks to my Special Studies Certificates, I had the opportunity to register as a paediatric specialist. Wishing to understand the root origins of life, I made the most of this series of successive positions as an intern in the hospitals in the Paris area to train in neonatology in particular.
This experience taught me that the maternal instinct to give life could be transmitted by the medical staff. There, I discovered the strength, thanks to an ever more sophisticated technology, of the carer’s intention of supporting life. A vital effectiveness. The fact of the carer watching the premature baby’s respiration through the incubator windows was more effective in the prevention of irregular respiration than any instrument. The caring relationship can keep someone alive. It is transmitted through the continuity of « holding the new born child » from the womb to the incubator.
The paradoxical shock between the reassuringly hyper technical competence of the resuscitation units on the one hand, and on the other hand of the timid fragility of the parental bond, inspired me with the desire for complementary training in child psychiatry.
This is how I came to follow a course in child and adolescent psychiatry at the CES lasting 4 years.
During these years of practising in the prestigious wards of a university psychiatric hospital, I gradually noticed that, often, the place given to words was more important than that given to what the patient’s body was saying. As if the body was only the support for the psyche’s words. My diagnostic skills through observation and touch were totally out of place here. What I could see was that the physical distress, the needs, the scars, the attitudes, the posture, were not considered to be semiologically valid and didn’t have any impact on the diagnostic decisions, which were more and more assisted by psychometric assessments. I discovered that, in the end, what the patient said to the psychiatrist was not addressed to a free human being but to someone who is overall (in their body, mind, incarnate presence) concerned with the discourse of « psychiatric science ». The doctor-patient relationship is encoded, conformist; holding attention is not necessarily a caring relationship, even more so when it is replaced by the circulation of cigarettes! My training in psychiatry had taught me the frontiers between therapy and care.
Thanks to this regressive experience of total immersion in water (« holding » in weightless conditions) and assisted respiration, I recovered my bodiliness and found my freedom of mind once again. My success in the competition for the Psychiatric Hospital Intern position in Paris (1983) allowed me to have my specialist studies recognised.
Thanks to the comprehensive attitude of the doctor who was the director of the medical department at the National Institute for Sport and Physical Education (INSEP 75012), I was able to combine my practices and continue my profession as a psychiatrist in this department from 1988 until 2000. It was at this time that I intensified my understanding of the development of the human being in his or her uniqueness, (physical, psychological, spiritual) when he or she is forced to perform a given action: produce a result..... hold a title..... » which is not naturally ingrained in his or her growth process. This slow process of distancing oneself from the subjects’ qualms is intrinsically linked to the competitive principle which measures and classifies the individual in comparison with others. Surpassing oneself when it goes beyond human bounds justifies any form of transgression to the moral order of things: destructive violence can even be claimed as a right!. On the other hand, the life process rises in accordance with the subject him or herself, through a permanent deepening of the fundamental uniqueness of his or being, in the same way as the rhythm of oral language acquisition and its multiple emotional and cultural nuances.
At the same time as my functions with INSEP, I have opened my own freelance consulting practice. Thanks to this daily parallel between consultations with sportspeople and the « town » consultations I have been able to observe how medicine has been invaded by the societal sports project, going from the curative medical act applied by a doctor and the bio-technologically assisted performance.
How can one remain in a working order under such conditions? All the discernment gained from my work as a clinic practitioner and as a psychoanalyst has appeared in the adjustment between one and the other of these two development trajectories: sporting acquisitions/ artificial/ predictable and inborn/ natural/ unpredictable. In order to establish this, I published my first book with PUF in 1992: The Adolescent Champion, Constraint or Freedom.
This meant that I was at the height of my fame as a psychoanalyst for champions at the time of the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.
Therefore, I got around the theoretical deadlock where my professional commitment was stagnating by reinforcing my clinical and psychoanalytical approach. I presented a state doctoral thesis in Clinical Psychology (1993) so as to « be sure of having some repartee » when faced with the rise, not so much of cognitive, the behavioural or the experimental psychologies, as when faced with all the « new » approaches which were making the mental and not the academic into the psychological and which are more or less linked to the « new » religions (even training with sects). This title meant that I could work with INSEP as a professor-researcher and thus act in an uphill manner on education in human performance.
Little by little, as the sport business ascended, I seized on the alienating impact of the « useful » human type which offers sports practice aimed at the top performance, without any limit since it is outside the person’s life project! The off-limit affects the devices’ complexity and other training aids in the same way – implementation so as to achieve these high performances at the time of the competitions when they will be evaluated – which develop in an exponential way. The socio-political evolution of sporting constraints threatens each sportsperson’s humanity more and more. If throughout the time that I have worked with these high level sportspeople I have been able to admire, to be astonished by the truly exemplary successes iin the course of their lives, I have had to denounce what I would call the relentlessness of sportspeople and especially certain excesses as regards minors and children who are less than twelve years old.
Through globalisation and the arbitration mandates, these devices, one of which is doping, have fortunately undergone a moral interpretation and are regulated through legal channels. This is how, since 1997, I have attempted to work upstream from the excesses of « training aids » by taking part in work which has led to the Buffet legislation (March 1999) which was introduced to protect the health of sportspeople and to organise the fight against doping and other dope related behaviours.
With clinical psychology firmly accepted at INSEP, with the passing of the Buffet law, in 2000 I decided to leave Paris to go to Avignon for a sabbatical break. I finished the manuscript for a book recording my professional experience from 1988 to 2000. Published in 2002 and entitled « The Champion, His Life, His Death, a Psychoanalysis of a Feat ». Published by Editions Bayard, to my extreme surprise, it was the subject of a literary criticism where the critic read a life message into it rendering the mastery of « doing », exalted in these strong socio-political stakes possible...
I accepted it as a Quality label for my creations and for my professional commitment.
For family reasons, I then transferred my practice to Paris in 2005 and hence also my Performance Santé Conseil trademark. Since then, I am living in my channel, my way of being a healer.
The book’s test, an inventory of my clinical practice among high level sportspeople, enriched and linked to my experience of attending to high performers (non-sportspeople) led me to conceptualise somatopsychology® for which I filed a copyright with the I.N.P.I. on 11/05/2005. This method works on the various memoirs, the living person’s ordeal, so as to bring the living person in flesh and blood closer through the certainty of their deep-rootedness. It lays the foundations for a basic internal security, which allows us to rebound, scar after scar, to be reborn in ourselves, to re-find enough self-esteem, to keep us upright and ready to move forward. I implement this by proposing emotional relaxation sessions in a massage chair.
Then, several months later, as a logical sequel, I filed the trademark for the Art of Holding Oneself Well® with the I.N.P.I. on 06/09/2005 . It acts on our intimate cohesion, woken up by somatopsychology®. To commit oneself to it implies that each person takes their own responsibility for their human condition – marking out their route while juxtaposing the right to live with the duty to remain in working order – using the richness of the technical and scientific arsenal of mastering the living being. Making use of all the subtleties of the altruistic connection between caring and giving, this guides our growth in humanity, our aspiration towards the very best in us. Taking on the Art of Holding Oneself Well® stimulates one to dare to give birth to oneself and to liberate the energy of one’s propulsive violence: quite naturally, the performances of human finiteness explode. Hence this extraordinary quality comes to life, hence one’s own work of art comes to life.
Within the same pedagogic and healing coherence, at the same time as continuing with the Parisian freelance activity, in November 2007, I accepted the directorship at CAMSP ( the Centre for Medico-Social Action with the Precocious) in Dieppe (F-76200).
There, I have decided to use my experience with the inter-personal distress felt by the great sportspeople - « noble » handicapped people – whose neo-body and mental state are maladjusted at the time of their reconversion, for the good of children whose interpersonal distress is premature. The care given to the child as a whole linked to his or her natural family environment, helps in understanding the handicap as a revelation of his or her strength to live which is unattainable by any normative, predictable system. There, I am setting up a new area of research; the A.P.A.C. (aid using horses) workshop whose results will be analysed at the end of 2009.