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Byers, D. (2017). Micro-trauma: A Psychoanalytic Understanding of Cumulative Psychic Injury, : by M. Crastnopol. (2015). New York, NY: Routledge, 252 pp., $41.56.. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 24(2):176-178.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 24(2):176-178

Micro-trauma: A Psychoanalytic Understanding of Cumulative Psychic Injury, : by M. Crastnopol. (2015). New York, NY: Routledge, 252 pp., $41.56.

David S. Byers, PhD, MSW, LICSW

Our daily interactions with one another make us vulnerable, more than we may typically be able to register. According to Crastnopol (2015) in Micro-trauma: A Psychoanalytic Understanding of Cumulative Psychic Injury, the subtlest and most banal of these interactions can add up without warning—unacknowledged, unnoticed, denied, dismissed, excused—and gradually leave wounds. This book is both a nuanced description of these sub-traumatic experiences and an argument for closer clinical attention to them in our clients' daily lives.

Crastnopol's intervention usefully builds on psychoanalytic conceptualizations of traumatic misattunement in childhood, in particular Khan's (1963) study of “cumulative trauma” in early childhood, although she also draws on her readings of Kris, Fairbairn, Winnicott, Sullivan, Laing, Kohut, Bromberg, Stern, and Mitchell. Crastnopol repeatedly makes the point that micro-traumas need not build on or refer back to traumatic experiences in childhood. Although cumulative injuries may indeed stem from the past, they can also begin to accumulate at any point in life without an early history, like the gradual onset of carpal tunnel syndrome after years of computer use in adulthood. Regardless of the etiology, Crastnopol further builds on Mitchell's (1984) “developmental tilt” to demonstrate that a clinician's attempt to make sense of the injury in only historical terms risks avoiding and even invalidating the pain in the present,

[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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