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Oliner, M.M. (2000). The Unsolved Puzzle of Trauma. Psychoanal Q., 69(1):41-61.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 69(1):41-61

The Unsolved Puzzle of Trauma

Marion Michel Oliner, Ph.D.

This paper covers the inherent difference between psychoanalysis, which deals with unconscious fantasies, and trauma, which emphasizes the psychic repercussions caused by events in external reality. This distinction has led to variations in the treatment for victims of trauma, which also reflects the duality commonly observed in this group of patients. I suggest that trauma leads to unconscious guilt and the need for exoneration because individuals identify with their fate, and that this guilt can and indeed should be analyzed. Further studies might show that dividedness predates the experience of trauma and that this mode of defense mitigates the impact of trauma.

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