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Traub-Werner, D. (1995). Discussion of Louise Kaplan's paper: “Perversion and Trauma: From Paradoxical Memory to Narrative Memory”. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 3(2):199-201.

(1995). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 3(2):199-201

Discussion of Louise Kaplan's paper: “Perversion and Trauma: From Paradoxical Memory to Narrative Memory”

Daniel Traub-Werner

Dr. Kaplan describes a patient who attempted to master a painful past punctuated by trauma, separation, and loss. Her defensive structure was organized around “enactments,” which placed her at risk and ultimately brought her into treatment Dr. Kaplan's paper conceptualizes trauma as the excitatory material around which the perversion organizes itself. The patient's perversion was constituted by “enactments,” which served a dual function: first, to discharge painful affect, and second, to forestall the memory of past trauma.

The patient's mother was “dead”: emotionally depleted and unavailable Her father was either absent or intrusive He was absent emotionally and physically. His intrusiveness took the form of an inordinate interest in Emma's bowel movements Emma lost her sister to marriage, and her mother to illness and death. The trauma of childhood sexual abuse contributed to overstimulation. The discovery of the abuse was closely followed by a tonsillectomy, which Emma experienced as punishment for the abuse she had sustained.

The abuse and the tonsillectomy occurred at an age when, according to Greenacre (1953), trauma results in maximum ego disruption and predisposes to a perverse solution.

The patient had a derogated image of both her physical and psychological self.

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