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Sperling, O.E. (1950). The Interpretation of the Trauma as a Command. Psychoanal Q., 19:352-370.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:352-370

The Interpretation of the Trauma as a Command

Otto E. Sperling, M.D.

SUMMARY

Present theoretical approaches to the psychoanalytic understanding of war neurosis are insufficient to explain its various manifestations and related conditions after civilian accidents and in extreme situations. War neuroses and civilian traumatic neuroses are based on the conflict between love and hatred—transferred from the Oedipus complex to society (the country)

as a whole. A trauma is a stimulus which is interpreted on a regressive animistic level as a command. In some cases of war neurosis which offer great difficulties in treatment, the traumata have led to the establishment of a parasitic superego which represents the enemy's commands.

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