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Laub, D. (2015). Discussion of Bodenstab, Knopp, and Hamburger. Contemp. Psychoanal., 51(2):258-261.

(2015). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 51(2):258-261

Discussion of Bodenstab, Knopp, and Hamburger

Dori Laub, M.D.


It is important to highlight how the interdisciplinary contributions in this special issue enrich our understanding of the impact extreme traumatization has on the testimonial narrative. Sonja Knopp's article illustrates how the traumatic imprint that permeates Holocaust testimony informs history through its content, through its form, and through the corporeal information it contains—by far exceeding what the written document can convey. This is all the more evident when the traumatic rupture is irreparable, as in Shmuel's testimony, creating so-called “fissures.”

The scenic-narrative microanalytic approach, presented by Andreas Hamburger, applies a relational analysis to a severely trauma-fragmented narrative by demonstrating how transference, countertransference, and parapraxes are in minute-to-minute dialogue with each other in order to fill the traumatic gaps of what has not been symbolized, and is therefore unnarrated. This approach unequivocally underscores the profound damage to psychic structure and function, and to boundaries that are the backdrop for the survivor's fractured narratives.

Finally, the article by Johanna Bodenstab demonstrates psychoanalytic listening to a mother–daughter interaction in an extremely traumatic moment—the joint witnessing of the unexpected murder of a newborn baby. The narrative evolves and is structured and layered. Feelings are experienced and expressed.

[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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