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Grossmark, R. (2009). The Case of Pamela. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(1):22-30.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(1):22-30

The Case of Pamela

Robert Grossmark, Ph.D.

The analysis of Pamela is described, followed by verbatim process of one session. An upbringing of emotional neglect, overstimulation, violent abuse, and lack of boundaries in a family with generations of trauma had left Pamel clinging to a rigid persona built around her abilities to drive herself, to offer herself to others, and to be everything that was required of her in work and social relations. The analysis revealed areas of profound dysregulation and the loss of the sense of herself as alive and inhabiting her own being and body. A consistent holding and containment of these disturbing states was central to the analysis, including, on occasion, the actual holding of Pamela when she was falling apart. A painful enactment of emotional murder in the treatment is described and the sincere and spontaneous response of the analyst that helped transform this potentially destructive moment into one of repair. The session reported occurs as Pamela struggles with the impending termination of this treatment. This is revealed in a dream as an emotional earthquake and illustrates the working through of her profound struggle to hold onto herself as a coherent and alive person.

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