Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To quickly go to the Table of Volumes from any article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To quickly go to the Table of Volumes from any article, click on the banner for the journal at the top of the article.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Wigren, J. (1999). As Hardly Killed, as Easily Wounded: Posttraumatic Challenges to the Working Alliance. Contemp. Psychoanal., 35(2):253-269.
  

(1999). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 35(2):253-269

As Hardly Killed, as Easily Wounded: Posttraumatic Challenges to the Working Alliance

Jodie Wigren, Ph.D.

Chris arrived in her new therapist's office with a list of her previous treaters. The list was long, the failures many. She complained that she had been misunderstood, pathologized, and exploited by therapists who lacked both skill and integrity. She needed a therapist, but felt little hope of finding one who knew how to understand and help her with her difficulties.

Introduction

Developing and sustaining a treatment alliance with victims of early trauma can be notoriously difficult. Too many psychotherapies end in rupture or stalemate when therapist and patient become mired in struggles that express—and in turn create—conditions of fundamental unsafety in relationship.

This article examines why the therapeutic relationship is so difficult for such patients. It is proposed that chronic childhood mistreatment deprives the growing child of the relationship that creates potential space, and so of a context in which to develop both the self and the capacity to render experience symbolically. Posttraumatic impairments in the capacity for symbolic thinking lend an immediacy and concreteness to subjective experience that leaves little room for reflection or for other points of view. When negative transference emerges in the treatment relationship it is thus not amenable to interpretation (Hegeman, 1995). In order to contain this experience, therapist and patient must create connection in the face of material that is actively threatening to relationship.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.