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Cooper, A.M. (1986). Chapter 3: Toward a Limited Definition of Psychic Trauma. The Reconstruction of Trauma: Its Significance in Clinical Work, 41-56.

Cooper, A.M. (1986). Chapter 3: Toward a Limited Definition of Psychic Trauma. The Reconstruction of Trauma: Its Significance in Clinical Work , 41-56

Chapter 3: Toward a Limited Definition of Psychic Trauma Book Information Previous Up Next

Arnold M. Cooper, M.D.

We live in a universe whose intellectual content, affective dispositions, and social arrangements are pervasively influenced by the history of two world wars, the Nazi Holocaust, the actuality of nuclear explosions, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Historians may dispute whether our century is better or worse, more or less traumatic than others, in which life seemed nasty, brutish, and short, with death always imminent. In one respect, at least, our time is different from all preceding ones, for we perceive our man-made and natural disasters through the filter of one hundred years of psychoanalytic influence.

Before Freud, the interest in child rearing focused on the appropriate measures to help the child to grow to be moral and industrious, a good citizen who would carry on the tradition of his forefathers. Since Freud, we see the child as a relatively fragile, delicately balanced set of dynamic equilibria, and the task of child rearing has taken on two additional elements.

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