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Trauma and Psychoanalysis

As I near the completion of my two year psychoanalytic trauma studies program, I reflect on the understanding I have gained of how important dissociation plays a role in trauma and the human psyche. Dissociation can be understood as the unconscious fragmentation of traumatic memories for survival of the mind and spirit.  Repression, on the other hand, can be understood as the intentional suppression of painful memories/traumatic experiences. Through my work with relational trauma, alongside my trauma studies at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, I have learned the power of enactments and how to become more comfortable in sessions with clients when they occur. I used to feel intimidated by enactments, by clients being angry with me, and finding myself stuck in these enactments that can feel so uncomfortable because I truly never understood the necessity behind clients needing to have these enactments with us so that we may understand their hurt and pain through living their story symbolically. I have also become better at being raw with myself and my clients, and allowing myself to experience and name my own vulnerability….because the truth is, sometimes therapists hurt too and sometimes we also feel afraid and inadequate…and how we deal with these “me or not me” self states makes a difference in what we accept in ourselves, what we repress, and/or what we dissociate. The mind is a very powerful tool for our survival.

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