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Janowitz, N. (2019). Freud's Legacy and Modern Theories of Ineffable Trauma. Am. J. Psychoanal., 79(2):212-229.

(2019). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 79(2):212-229

Freud's Legacy and Modern Theories of Ineffable Trauma

Naomi Janowitz, Ph.D.

Notions of ineffability, what cannot be put into words, vary depending on the historical and cultural context and, in particular, on shifting linguistic ideologies about the capabilities and limits of language. In recent decades psychoanalysts have embraced a modern notion of ineffability centered around traumatic bodily experiences that are thought to be inexpressible. However, these ideas break with Freudian ideas about language and, most importantly, with his understanding of the processes of interpretation that give meaning to both psychic pain and attempts to heal it. Contra Freud, current theories of ineffable trauma re-inscribe a dominance of the body over the psyche and over-simplify Freud's ideas about the retro-determination of trauma.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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