Marty, Pierre (1918-1993)

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MARTY, PIERRE (1918-1993)

Pierre Marty, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, member, and former president of the Société psychanalytique de Paris [Paris Psychoanalytic Society], was born on March 11, 1918, in Saint-Céré, France, and died in Paris on June 14, 1993. He was considered the leading representative of theÉcole psychosomatique de Paris (Paris School of Psychosomatics), whose work attracted a large international audience after the 1962 appearance of La Pensée opératoire, which he wrote with Michel de M'Uzan.

Marty spent his entire student life in a northern suburb of Paris, where his father was a teacher. During childhood and adolescence, the sickness of those closest to him caused him considerable distress. He claims that this was the origin of his interest in psychosomatics. After the lycée he began studying medicine, then psychiatry, and underwent personal analysis in 1947 with Marc Schlumberger. He married Simone Fain, the sister of Michael Fain, and the couple had one daughter, Catherine. Marty became a widower in 1963 and never remarried.

Marty quickly rose in the ranks of the SPP. Elected an associate member on June 20, 1950, he became a full member on May 20, 1952, and on January 20, 1953, Jacques Lacan, then president of the SPP, chose him as his secretary (a position he held until 1961). In this way Marty was able to directly follow the events that led to the split in the SPP, following the departure of Lacan and the founders of the Société française de psychanalyse (French Society for Psychoanalysis). Marty was an integral part of these events but he never wavered in his decision to remain within the SPP. He established solid ties to Sacha Nacht, Francis Pasche, Maurice Bouvet, and many others. Even at this time he had developed an interest in psychosomatics.

Secretary of the fifteenth Congrès des psychanalystes de langues romanes, held in November 1952, he closely followed these conferences, which enabled him to remain in contact with Spanish colleagues with whom he had shared his ideas and developed close friendships over the years. During the twenty-first Congrès des psychanalystes de langues romanes, held in Rome, he presented the paper "Dépersonnalisation et relation d'objet," which Maurice Bouvet, who was then dying, was unable to present. Faithful to his friend, Marty was one of the founders and the "administrator" of the Maurice Bouvet Prize, created in 1962. Made vice president of the SPP in 1961, he became president of the organization in 1969. Throughout his tenure and through his activity, an "administrative board" was created by a vote on June 16, 1970, the first step toward in-depth reform of the bylaws and structure of the SPP. This led to the direct participation of membership categories that had previously been excluded. Two years later, in 1972, Marty and Michel Fain created the Institut de psychosomatique (IPSO, Institute of psychosomatics), in Paris, where he continued to see patients. At IPSO there was a Centre d'enseignement et de recherches en psychosomatique (Center for Psychosomatic Teaching and Research), which over the years was to become a world-renowned center for training, research, and treatment.

Marty became interested in psychosomatics early in his career. On May 9, 1950, he presented, before the SPP, a paper, "Aspect psychodynamique de l'étude clinique de quelques cas de céphalalgie," and he wrote the chapter "Clinique et pratique psychosomatiques" in La Psychanalyse d'aujourd'hui, a collection of essays edited by Sacha Nacht. With his description of "operative thinking," followed by the publication of L'Investigation psychosomatique (1963), written with Michel de M'Uzan and Christian David, Marty discovered a new approach to clinical work: that of "operative" patients in whom there are only two possible outlets for non-mentalized excitationbehavior or the somatic path. But it was in his two most important books, Les Mouvements individuels de vie et de mort (1976) and L'Ordre psychosomatique (1980) that he best described his architectural and psychosomatic conception of human beings.

Starting from classical psychoanalytic theory and especially Freudian metapsychology, which remains the fundamental principle of mental organization, he expanded its theoretical-clinical model to the psychosomatic economy of subjects. Evolutionary and counter-evolutionary movements determine points of attachment on the central evolutionary chain, as well as on lateral and parallel chains. This led to the development of a new system of psychosomatic nosography, which placed, between neurotic structures and ongoing psychotic structures that are symptomatologically organized, fully conscious neuroses, inadequately mentalized or poorly mentalized neuroses, and behavioral neuroses. Diagnostic distinctions are made during the psychosomatic investigation through an understanding of the patient's preconscious system. This new system of classification entailed an improved form of psychotherapy for patients whose "mentalization" seemed deficient. The "maternal function" of the analyst was then used in an attempt to "reactivate the relationship," something at which Marty, a remarkable clinician, excelled.

The experience he acquired at the Poterne-des-Peupliers Hospital, now the Pierre Marty Hospital, where he was senior physician at the time of its creation in 1978, enabled him to establish the validity of his theoretical and clinical model. It appeared that mental work protected the body against somatic disorganization, regardless of its nature or form, and if this was already in place, it promoted reorganization through modifications of the psychosomatic economy that accompany engagement in a regular psychotherapeutic relationship. Originally conceived with adult patients in mind, this psychosomatic approach to human behavior was extended to adolescents, children, and infants. A children's unit has been in place at the Pierre Marty Hospital since its inception.

Marty's work has experienced, and continues to experience, widespread recognition in France and abroad. There are several Pierre Marty centers around the world.

Rosine Debray

Notions developed: Allergic-object reaction; Essential depression; Disorganization; Mentalization; Operational thought.

See also: Actual; Allergy; Asthma; Character neurosis; Psychic causality; Congrès des psychanalystes de langue française des pays romans; Conversion; Stranger; Excitation; Fixation; Disintegration, feelings of, (anxieties); France; Negative, work of; Actual neurosis/defense neurosis; Preconscious, the; Psychosomatic; Regression; Société psychanalytique de Paris et Institut de psychanalyse de Paris; Symptom-formation.


Marty, Pierre. (1976). Les mouvements individuels de vie et de mort (Vol. 1, Essai d'économie psychosomatique ). Paris: Payot.

. (1980). Les mouvements individuels de vie et de mort (Vol. 2, L'Ordre psychosomatique ). Paris: Payot.

. (1990). La psychosomatique de l'adulte. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Marty, Pierre, and M'Uzan, Michel de. (1962). La pensée opératoire. Intervention sur le rapport de M. Fain et Ch. David: Aspects fonctionnels de la vie onirique. XXIIIe Congrès des psychanalystes de langues romanes, Barcelone, 1962, Revue française de psychanalyse, 27, Spec. issue, 345-356.