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Moffat, D. (2017). Maldonado, J.L. & Solimano, A.L. (2016). ‘Reflections on trauma, symbolization and psychic pain in a case of neurosis and a case of psychosis’. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 97, 5, 1299-1320.. J. Anal. Psychol., 62(4):619-622.
  

(2017). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 62(4):619-622

Maldonado, J.L. & Solimano, A.L. (2016). ‘Reflections on trauma, symbolization and psychic pain in a case of neurosis and a case of psychosis’. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 97, 5, 1299-1320.

Review by:
Diana Moffat

This paper explores, by the use of two case studies, trauma and its relationship to historical reality, its symbolization and the psychic pain generated by the investigation of the unconscious in the psychoanalytic process. The authors compare and contrast the nature of trauma as experienced in the case of a neurotic patient and a psychotic one. The study focuses on the difficulties encountered by the analysts in the interpretive treatment of the trauma due to the intense psychic pain experienced by the patients describing this as - at times - a ‘destructive distortion’ (p. 1299) of the process.

This immediately caught my attention as I found myself wondering about how much of the analytic process is based on interpretative treatment. Drawing on Freud (1915), the authors seem to take a position that analysis is not possible with psychotic patients as they have withdrawn libido from the object to such a degree that they retreat into a state of infantile omnipotence where there is no object, and therefore no transference is possible. Other analysts who did analyse psychotic patients would disagree, e.g. Searles (1963), Segal (1957) and Lucas (2009). Jung based his early work on the analysis of psychotic patients and made startling breakthroughs but not by focusing solely on the interpretative method. For him, catharsis, education and transformation were equally important aspects of the analytic relationship.

[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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