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Schraivogel, P. (2007). Psychoanalytische Traumatologie—Das Trauma in der Familie [Psychoanalytic traumatology—trauma in the family] By Mathias Hirsch Stuttgart: Schattauer Verlag. 2004. 308 p.Trauma und Paranoia. Individuelle und kollektive Angst im politischen Kontext [Trauma and paranoia. Individual and collective anxiety in the political context] edited by Rotraut De Clerck Gießen: Psychosozial Verlag. 2006. 147 p.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88(6):1581-1587.
(2007). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 88(6):1581-1587
Psychoanalytische Traumatologie—Das Trauma in der Familie [Psychoanalytic traumatology—trauma in the family] By Mathias Hirsch Stuttgart: Schattauer Verlag. 2004. 308 p.Trauma und Paranoia. Individuelle und kollektive Angst im politischen Kontext [Trauma and paranoia. Individual and collective anxiety in the political context] edited by Rotraut De Clerck Gießen: Psychosozial Verlag. 2006. 147 p.
Reviewed by Peter Schraivogel
How is external reality constructed in the individual's inner psychic world and how does his inner world in turn imprint the perception of external reality? This is a question with which psychoanalysts have always been concerned. To this day, we have found no satisfactory answer. Various psychoanalytic schools accord a different weight to external or inner reality in their understanding of clinical phenomena and sometimes they avoid looking with both eyes, as Scharff (2002) expressed it.
Many psychoanalysts deplore the inflationary way in which the concept of trauma is sometimes used. Mathias Hirsch poses this question at the outset of his book. He distinguishes between extreme traumatizations (concentration camps, wartime experiences, terror) that are more likely to lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic familial traumatizations, which are considered to be the cause of severe personality disorders, often borderline pathologies (p. 3):
In one study, Dulz and Jensen (2000) found physical ill treatment and/or sexual abuse in 82% of the borderline patients who were being treated as in-patients; if this is extended to include cases of severe neglect, the figure rises to 100%. Whereas traumas in the rapprochement phase in very young children are more likely to relate to borderline disorders, narcissistic personality disorders are more often connected with deprivation traumas in babyhood. (p. 4)
Although this classification may sound rather schematic, it nevertheless suggests that we need to consider traumatizations in more detail.
Hirsch considers the concept of trauma to be a shorthand formula akin to ‘mother’, which must be subdivided into the traumatizing event, the traumatic state and the continuing pathological changes.
In addition to the immediate consequences, the overwhelming of the ego boundaries and the ego's integrational capacity, thus the overpowering anxiety, and the attempts to defend against it by dissociation and internalization, there are phenomena such as the loss of what is called primary trust (i.e. trust in the fundamental predictability and reliability of human relationships) and the weakening or destruction of the symbolizing capacity, along with the inadequate integration of the trauma into the explicit memory system. (p.
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