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Torsti, M. (2000). At the Sources of the Symbolization Process: The Psychoanalyst as an Observer of Early Trauma. Psychoanal. St. Child, 55:275-297.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 55:275-297

At the Sources of the Symbolization Process: The Psychoanalyst as an Observer of Early Trauma

Marita Torsti, M.D.

This paper presents a psychoanalytic study of mothers and infants, concentrating on very early traumatization and its impact on the symbolization process. This can be traced in the analysis in the destruction of freedom of association and the symbolization process, leading to petrifications, somatizations, or acting out. A theory of the origin of the symbolization process is developed by observing the kinesthesia of traumatized infants.

This approach, based on years of observation, offers a perspective on the landscape before representation, before the object has become represented. The theory takes account of forces from the area of the unconscious as described in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (Freud, 1920). A new view of the complexity and multi-dimensionality of the mind emerges from this study.

The author tries to demonstrate that the mind is multi-dimensional and that our theory of the mind therefore needs the complexity of UCS/PRC/CS. If psychoanalytic theorizing is to remain faithful to the forms and movements of the associative mind, it should not be simplified into linear causalities, as it would be if we were concerned only with object representations.

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