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Cordal, M.D. (2005). Traumatic effects of political repression in Chile: A clinical experience. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(5):1317-1328.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(5):1317-1328

Traumatic effects of political repression in Chile: A clinical experience

Margarita Díaz Cordal

The author examines psychic trauma resulting from human rights violations in Chile. Starting from trauma theories developed by authors such as Ferenczi, Winnicott and Stolorow, she posits the relevance of the subject's emotionally significant environment in the production of the traumatic experience. She describes the characteristics of the therapeutic process on the basis of a clinical case. She emphasizes the need to recognize the damage that may be produced within the reliable link between patient and analyst, pointing out the risk of retraumatization if analysts distance themselves and apply ‘technique’ rigorously, leaving out their own subjective assessments. Therapists must maintain their focus on the conjunction of the patient's intersubjective context and inner psychic world both when exploring the origin of the trauma and when insight is produced. The author posits repetition in the transference as an attempt at reparation, at finding the expected response from the analyst that will help patients assemble the fragments of their history and achieve, as Winnicott would put it, a feeling of continuity in the experience of being.

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