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Kaplan, S. Laub, D. (2009). Affect Regulation in Extreme Traumatization — Fragmented Narratives of Holocaust Survivors Hospitalized in Psychiatric Institutions. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 32(2):93-104.

(2009). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 32(2):93-104

Affect Regulation in Extreme Traumatization — Fragmented Narratives of Holocaust Survivors Hospitalized in Psychiatric Institutions

Suzanne Kaplan, Ph.D. and Dori Laub, M.D., M.A.

In this paper, we examine the rôle of affect regulation in the stammering, nearly spasmodic attempts of chronically hospitalized Holocaust survivants to know and to communicate trauma. An extended study of 26 videotaped interviews, completed in Israel in 2002 and in 2003 provided a corpus from which the conceptual model for understanding trauma-related affects, the “affect propeller,” could be used and further developed. This model was initially based on videotaped interviews with 40 Holocaust survivors and 12 survivors from the Rwandan genocide 1994. An overall impression of the narratives studied was that extended memory gaps, lack of visible affect, the warding-off of questions, and the avoidance of certain themes seem to be remarkably more common than in non-hospitalized Holocaust survivors. Two categories of trauma-related affects were identified as reflecting this difference: affect imploding and affect encasement.

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