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Aragno, A. Schlachet, P.J. (1996). Accessibility of Early Experience Through the Language of Origin: A Theoretical Integration. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(1):23-34.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(1):23-34

Accessibility of Early Experience Through the Language of Origin: A Theoretical Integration

Anna Aragno, Ph.D. and Peter J. Schlachet, Ph.D.

Emotionally laden early linguistic engrams and memory traces are inherently contained in language and are inextricably bound to the language and cultural context of origin. Although defining our therapies as the “talking cure,” our theories do not address the question of the language in which the talking should be done. However, it is in the earliest learned linguistic Anlagen that the emotional intensity of early infancy and childhood is encapsulated. With patients for whom English is a second language, linguistic articulation of such experiences remains remote and distant, without providing the associational triggers leading to what are very early and often traumatic experiences. In the context of a new theoretical model that addresses the stages in the development of symbolization, we propose an explanatory framework to understand and clinically address this phenomenon. Three cases are presented that illustrate these issues and point to the importance and impact of the developmental stage at which the second language was learned.

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