The Clinical Significance and Problems of a Traumaticentric View

by Fred Busch, PhD

In lieu of abstract here are brief excerpts of the content:

In this brief chapter on the destructive effects of trauma, and the transformative potential that psychoanalysis provides, I will focus on the issue of technique, and a troubling problem we’ve had. 

A brief history of the issues

For a long time in our history, psychoanalysis turned away from the destructive effects of traumatic early object relations. However, at a certain point our focus changed to trauma-based treatments, and the role of intrapsychic conflict diminished. Yet it is not only the trauma itself that remains traumatic. Inevitably, the feelings and fantasies the trauma stimulates become part of a dangerous intrapsychic field. In this way, a  trauma also becomes part of an intrapsychic conflict. Thus, it seems to me that analytic work has to be informed by attunement to empathic breakdowns, past and present, and their effects on the patient’s psychic life both in- and outside of the analysis, while we also listen for the resultant unconscious fantasies and intrapsychic conflict. However, I still hear many analysts singularly emphasize trauma interpretations in clinical work based on interferences in development without at some point addressing its intrapsychic meanings <…>

In Trauma and the Destructive-Transformative Struggle: Clinical Perspectives, edited by Terrence McBride and Maureen Murphy. Routledge, 2020, p. 187-194.

Link to Online Publication [fulltext can be requested from the library]

About the Author: Fred Busch, PhD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, USA. He is the author of The Analyst’s Reveries: Explorations in Bion’s Enigmatic Concept (2019) and Creating a Psychoanalytic Mind (2013).

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