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FURTHER THOUGHTS ON TRAUMA, PROCESS AND REPRESENTATION*

Abstract

Beginning with Freud, throughout his work and in most if not all psychoanalytic formulations, the concept of trauma has been associated with the disruptive effects of excess excitation on psychic regulatory processes and psychic development. Foremost among these are the capacities for emotional containment and representation. The restoration, strengthening or acquisition for the first time of these capacities can take place intersubjectively in a successful analytic therapy and lies at the heart of the therapeutic action.

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Correspondence to Howard B. Levine.

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Howard B. Levine, M.D., Member, APsaA, PINE Psychoanalytic Center, Contemporary Freudian Society; Faculty, NYU Post-Doc Contemporary Freudian track; Editorial Board, International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalytic Inquiry; Editor-in-chief, Routledge Wilfred Bion Studies Book Series. In private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.

*A version of this paper was presented at The Western Branch of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society 2020 Annual Scientific Conference, “Aftermath of Trauma”.

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Levine, H.B. FURTHER THOUGHTS ON TRAUMA, PROCESS AND REPRESENTATION*. Am J Psychoanal 81, 164–177 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-021-09290-2

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Keywords

  • trauma
  • representation
  • transformation
  • intersubjectivity
  • repetition compulsion