Monday, November 17, 2014

Trauma and Psychosis: A Review and Framework for Psychoanalytic Understanding

I have long felt that psychosis is more adequately understood when it is seen as the most extreme form of dissociation - a need so intense that it is not the body, or emotions, or memories that are dissociated, it is reality itself.

Although it is reality that is dissociated (through delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and cognitive distortions), it is fundamentally the emotions that are most important in making sense of the psychotic features and in bringing the client back. I have no doubt that meds are important for some, but not everyone benefits from the psychological numbing effects of the atypical antipsychotics.

What my clients have taught me is that the key to recover is to reclaim the body, and with it the emotions that are so painful the person needed to create a different reality, where the client is often a different person, with different origins, and who is much more important in some ways than they ever were in their "normal" life.

This is a free article (until the end of December) from the International Forum of Psychoanalysis in which Lawrence Kirshner offers a psychoanalytic take on psychosis and its roots in trauma (follow the links to read online or download).

Full Citation:
Kirshner, L.A. (2013, Jun 4). Trauma and psychosis: A review and framework for psychoanalytic
understanding. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, DOI: 10.1080/0803706X.2013.778422

Lewis A. Kirshner
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