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Galenson, E. (1986). Chapter 8: Divorce. The Reconstruction of Trauma: Its Significance in Clinical Work, 121-134.

Galenson, E. (1986). Chapter 8: Divorce. The Reconstruction of Trauma: Its Significance in Clinical Work , 121-134

Chapter 8: Divorce Book Information Previous Up Next

Eleanor Galenson, M.D.

In this discussion of psychoanalytic reconstruction in relation to the early impact of divorce, it will be evident that my psychotherapeutic approach to adults has been strongly influenced by my knowledge of early psychopathology, particularly in connection with the preoedipal period. In concentrating on elements such as bodily states, visual and auditory imagery, and affective behavioral manifestations in facial and other bodily expressions, I expect thereby to provide verification of verbal material, as well as signs and signals of unconscious conflicts and defenses which may have originated during the first three years of life. Genetic reconstruction is further facilitated by concentrating on transference manifestations, a source of data of current fantasies and wishes which represent modified versions of early childhood fantasies.

In the analysis to be discussed below, I assumed at the start that a major theme about which both conflicts and defenses centered was the patient's parents' divorce which had occurred early in her life, and that this event had exerted a particularly traumatic effect, due in part to the patient's own personality attributes and in part to factors in the external situation leading to and following the divorce. I expected that close attention to the transference, as it evolved in the various aspects mentioned above, would eventually lead at least to a partial understanding of both preoedipal and oedipal experiences connected with the divorce.

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