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Sandler, J. Dreher, A.U. Drews, S. (1991). An Approach to Conceptual Research in Psychoanalysis Illustrated by a Consideration of Psychic Trauma. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:133-141.

(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:133-141

An Approach to Conceptual Research in Psychoanalysis Illustrated by a Consideration of Psychic Trauma

Joseph Sandler, Anna Ursula Dreher and Sibylle Drews


This paper addresses the problems involved in establishing the precise meaning of psychoanalytic concepts by considering the difficulties surrounding the meaning of 'psychic trauma'. A collaborative project is described in which attention was directed towards the way in which the concept of trauma has been used implicitly by analysts, and a method of working is described which can, the authors believe, accelerate useful theoretical and clinical development. The specific study reported here resulted in the proposal that attention be paid to traumatization as a process and to the short and long term consequences of this process, which need not be restricted to the categories of Traumatic Neurosis or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

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