Technical considerations in the psychotherapy of traumatized individuals: a psychoanalytic perspective.
This paper addresses two specific aspects of clinical technique in the treatment of traumatized individuals. The first aspect involves the creation of a safe holding environment as an essential step for the emergence of trauma-related memories and the containment of the affects accompanying them. Such scenarios may appear in the clinical material only through the workings of procedural memory. It is therefore important to contain and gradually decipher repetitive patterns of behavior and feelings of shame, guilt and rage that go with them. The second aspect examines the challenges such work poses to the analyst's containing capacities, credulousness and even his or her reality testing within a clinical situation. The resulting instability of the analyst's work ego can make it hard for him or her to remain vigilant yet empathic, and emotionally attuned but analytically skeptical. The analyst's flexibility to be utilized as a transference object, developmental object and self-object remains a critical determinant of the treatment outcome under such circumstances. The paper provides clinical material to illustrate these two aspects of clinical technique.
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