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311 Trauma – 5 seminars

Seminar Leaders: Drs. P. Stewart, J. Fernando and J. Kohl

Course Description

The purpose of these five seminars is to understand the historical underpinnings of the psychoanalytic approach to trauma and to integrate this knowledge of trauma on psychological functioning. Candidates will appreciate the neurobiological contribution towards a psychoanalytic model of treatment; understand Trauma and the Zero Process and the psychoanalytic treatment of dissociation; and learn to recognize the transference/counter-transference enactments that occur through trauma.

Seminar 1

The Psychoanalytic Understanding of the History of Trauma

  1. To study the history of trauma and abuse in Psychoanalytic Theory and technique (1.2).
  2. To understand how that led to controversy in approach and technique.
  3. To understand how the psychoanalytic concept of trauma evolved through writers such as Freud, Ferenczi and Shengold, allowing the student to integrate psychoanalytic theories of trauma upon which analytic practice is based (1.2).

Required Readings

Freud, S. (1893) On the psychical mechanism of hysterical phenomena: Preliminary communciation. The Standard Edition of The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 2, 3-17.

Ferenczi & Sandor. (1949). Confusion of the tongues between the adults and the child (The language of tenderness and passion). International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 30, 225-30.

Shengold, Leonard, M.D. (1979). Child abuse and deprivation soul murder. Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association, 27, 533-559.

Messler Davies, Jody & Frawley, Mary Gail. (1994). Chapter 1: Trauma and childhood sexual abuse in psychoanalysis. In Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood: A Psychoanalytic Perspective (pp.11-25). New York, NY: Basic Books.

Seminar 2

The neurobiological contribution to the understanding of the psychoanalytic understanding of trauma

  1. To understand the significance of neurobiological contribution to the treatment of trauma (1.2).
  2. To understand the importance of affect regulation in the re-experiencing of trauma.
  3. To understand the concept of the window of tolerance within psychoanalysis.

Required Readings

Bromberg, Philip. (2011). Allan Schore’s Preface. In The Shadow of the Tsunami and the Growth of the Relational Mind (pp.11-37). New York, NY: Routledge.

Bromberg, Phillip. (2008). Shrinking the tsunami: Affect regulation, dissociation and the shadow of the flood. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(3), 329-350.

Seminar 3

Trauma and the zero process

  1. To understand the nature of the traumatic process and of post-traumatic functioning.
  2. To integrate this knowledge of trauma on psychological functioning (1.2) to the extent that rational interventions can be fashioned and made comprehensible.

Required Readings

Fernando, J. “When the past never happens: the zero process and zero process defenses”. Electronic copy of this unpublished paper will be provided to the students.

Fernando, J. (2012a). Trauma and the zero process. Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 20, 267-290.

Seminar 4

Dissociative identity disorder

  1. To comprehend how the nature of post traumatic functioning (the zero process), when taken to an extreme, leads to the clinical presentation of Dissociative Identity Disorder, thus integrating knowledge of how human problems related to trauma develop, from the psychoanalytic viewpoint (1.2).
  2. To integrate this knowledge of trauma on psychological functioning (2) in the extreme instance of DID so that the special techniques necessary for its analysis become comprehensible
  3. To learn some of these techniques at the concrete level of what to say and do to contain and work through the multiple realities of DID patients, allowing the student to integrate this specific knowledge of the impact and use of the therapist’s self on the therapeutic process (1.4; 4.3).

Required Readings

Loewenstein, R.J. & Ross, D.R. (1992). Multiple personality and psychoanalysis: An introduction. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 12, 3-48.

Kluft, R.P. (2000). The psychoanalytic psychotherapy of dissociative identity disorder in the context of trauma therapy. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 20, 259-286.

Seminar 5

Making sense of trauma through transference and countertransference

  1. Be able to demonstrate an understanding, recognition and management of “trauma transferences”
  2. Be able to utilize countertransference responses to formulate the patient’s dilemmas more accurately, thus recognizing the impact of the therapist’s subjective context on the therapeutic context (4.3).

Required Readings

Allen, J.G. (2008). Psychotherapy: the artful use of science. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 78(2&3), 159-187.

Chu J.A. (1998). Good fences make good neighbours: Establishing boundaries and setting limits. In Rebuilding Shattered Lives – Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders (pp. 132-143). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Chu J.A., (1988). Ten traps for therapists in the treatment of trauma survivors. Dissociation, 1(4), 24-32.

Schottenbauer M.A., Glass, C.R., Arnkoff, D.B., et al. (2008). Contributions of psychodynamic approaches to treatment of PTSD and trauma: a review of the empirical treatment and psychopathology literature. Psychiatry, 71(1), 13-34.

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