Psychoanalysis and the understanding of psychic trauma evolved together. Originating in the treatment of the adult hysterical response to sexual abuse in childhood, psychoanalysis has widened its scope to address still broader social issues including war trauma and PTSD, and personality disordered by often subtle but cumulative traumatic relationship in the formative years.
Psychic trauma – the dissociative closing-off of the mental processing of an emotionally overwhelming experience – will be reviewed as a central issue of psychoanalysis: historically, theoretically and clinically. The growth of therapeutic thought and practice will be traced through the work of such originators as Freud and Breuer, Fairbairn, Winnicott, van der Kolk, Putnam, Bromberg and Schore. Case material will be introduced and discussed throughout.
October 6: Introduction – Trauma and Dissociation
Technique: hypnosis; talking; free association; interpretation; catharsis
October 20: Overt Trauma and Collective Dissociation
Child sexual abuse; combat trauma; PTSD. Social denial and warehousing
Abreaction vs. containment. Brief approaches, medication
November 3: “Forgotten” Trauma and Individual Dissociation
Trauma “hiding” in symptoms, behavior, patterns of relating, “missing” history
Transference, countertransference; what to treat and how?
Treatment as a potential repetition of the trauma
November 17: Trauma and Character – Psychic Interaction
Cumulative, relational, and developmental trauma
Psychic separation as the fundamental trauma
Developmental arrest vs. deficit disorder? Character first
December 8: Trauma and the Self – Psychic Structure and Relationship
Neuropsychology – traumatic attachment vs. “right brain” synchronicity
“Countertransference” as an agent of healing
Self-states and MPD/DID
December 22: From Symptom to Self – Trauma and the Whole Patient
Trauma-work parallel and intertwined with the growth of psychoanalysis:
From a detached study of the patient’s inner world to a collaborative understanding of the individual’s need for social authenticity.
Candace Orcutt, MA, Ph.D., social worker and psychoanalyst, serves on the faculty of the New Jersey Institute for Training in psychoanalysis, and the emeritus faculty of the International Masterson Institute. For twenty years, she was an associate of James F. Masterson, MD, as he pioneered in the study and treatment of personality disorder, and she contributed focal work on trauma to his Approach. Under the auspices of the International Masterson Institute, she has taught and lectured in the United States, Canada, Turkey, and South Africa. Her publications have appeared in anthologies edited by Dr. Masterson, as well as in numerous periodicals, including The International Review of Psycho-Analysis, The International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, and Social Casework. She is author of a book, Trauma in Personality Disorder: A Clinician’s Handbook issued in both English and Turkish, and The Unanswered Self: The Masterson Approach to the Healing of Personality Disorders, just published by Karnac.