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Dowling, S. (1987). Chapter 4: The Interpretation of Dreams in the Reconstruction of Trauma. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work, 47-56.

Dowling, S. (1987). Chapter 4: The Interpretation of Dreams in the Reconstruction of Trauma. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work , 47-56

Chapter 4: The Interpretation of Dreams in the Reconstruction of Trauma Book Information Previous Up Next

Scott Dowling, M.D.

The key word in the term reconstruction of trauma is trauma. Many analysts, including Freud in certain of his writings, considered psychological trauma to be a concept which parallels the concept of physical trauma; psychological trauma is, in this view, a sudden, overwhelming disruption of ego functions, imposed by an outside force and comparable to a wounding or crushing of the body by a physical force. Utilizing a neurological concept of Freud's era, which described sensory input as an influx of energy, psychological trauma is often compared with a sudden influx of electrical energy, a psychological electrocution, so to speak. This viewpoint, held by many analysts, gives trauma a “privileged” position as the single instance in psychoanalytic psychology in which quantitative characteristics of an external event have direct and unfiltered access to the mind.

This approach is most appealing when referring to sudden, acute states of psychological disorganization—often termed shock trauma. However, many colleagues use the term trauma to refer to “strain trauma” or “delayed trauma.” A strain trauma is a long-continued, stressful circumstance which has traumatic effects;

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