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Kalsched, D.E. (2013). Encounters with “Dis” in the Clinical Situation and in Dante's Divine Comedy. Psychoanal. Inq., 33(5):479-495.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33(5):479-495

Encounters with “Dis” in the Clinical Situation and in Dante's Divine Comedy

Donald E. Kalsched, Ph.D.

This article focuses on the inner world that results from trauma-generated dissociation and, through two clinical vignettes, explores how to work with the primitive forces that are liberated in the transference when daimonic levels of defense have become necessary to survive unbearable affects in early childhood. An archetypal story (Dante's descent into the Inferno) is used to demonstrate the preternatural presences that haunt or harrow the inner world of dissociation and how they are optimally approached. Comparisons are made between a depth-psychological understanding and contemporary relational theory in their respective approaches to the treatment of trauma and dissociation. Recommendations are made for a “binocular stance” that keeps both the inner world and the interpersonal world in view as I try to humanize the primitive idealizations and diabolizations that infuse the transference in work with trauma's survivors.

[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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