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(1951). 'Interpretation of the Trauma as a Command.': Otto E. Sperling.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:263.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: 'Interpretation of the Trauma as a Command.': Otto E. Sperling.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:263

'Interpretation of the Trauma as a Command.': Otto E. Sperling.

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1950, Vol. XIX, No. 3, p. 352.

The present theoretical approaches to the psycho-analytic understanding of war neurosis are insufficient. Freud's concept of the war neurosis does not explain the continuation of the neurosis after removal of the patient from the danger zone and his return to civilian life.

Based on the observation of many cases of war neurosis (with intensive analytic work on representatives from all of these groups), the author came to the conclusion that war neurosis is due to a conflict between love for and hatred of one's country, the heir to the Oedipus relationship to father or mother, or both. A trauma is a stimulus, or an accumulation of stimuli, which breaks through 'the stimulus barrier'—the latter represented by the understanding of the stimulus. The emotional structure of the personality and previous experiences play a part in these interpretations and in the reaction to commands. In the same way as a body of suggested commands and standards can be established as a parasitic superego in hypnosis, so in the soldier and in the internees of concentration camps, the traumata may lead to an identification with the enemy and to an establishment of his commands and ideologies as a parasitic superego.

Author's Abstract.

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Article Citation

(1951). 'Interpretation of the Trauma as a Command.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:263

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