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Meisel, F.L. (1990). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986: On Trauma. When Is the Death of a Parent Traumatic? Erna Furman. Pp. 191-208.. Psychoanal Q., 59:338.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986: On Trauma. When Is the Death of a Parent Traumatic? Erna Furman. Pp. 191-208.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:338

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986: On Trauma. When Is the Death of a Parent Traumatic? Erna Furman. Pp. 191-208.

Frederick L. Meisel

Differentiating trauma from stress, and excluding notions of cumulative, retrospective, and screen traumas, Furman restricts herself to the classical definition: "an influx of stimuli from within or without which breaks through the ego's protective shield and floods the system with excitation." Stemming from the inadequacy of the child to cope, from the overwhelming amount of stimuli, or from the failure of the parental environment to protect, the resulting trauma involves the interaction of internal and external factors, including immaturity and physical aspects of the events. Furman outlines various responses that differentiate trauma and stress, including "physical responses, vegetative excitement, massive anticathexis that is seen in states of shock, depersonalization, apathy, numbness and paralysis." These interfere with the ego's capacity for integration or synthesis and drive fusion. The process of recovery includes mastery through turning passive into active and requires "the development of signal anxiety in relation to experiences congruent with aspects of the trauma." Four vignettes with various degrees of recovery and mastery are presented, considering such factors as the child's age, pretraumatic vulnerability, and the availability of the parent in the post-traumatic period. Finally, Furman discusses the prevention of trauma, focusing on preparing the child if possible. She describes transference aspects of relived trauma during treatment of the child in psychoanalysis.

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Article Citation

Meisel, F.L. (1990). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLI, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 59:338

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