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Listening to the Lived Experience

Tomasella S*

CERP, France

*Corresponding Author:
Saverio Tomasella
Founder and Manager, CERP, Psychoanalyst, France
[email protected]

Received date: May 30, 2019; Accepted date: June 10, 2019; Published date: June 21, 2019

Citation: Tomasella S (2019) Listening to the Lived Experience. Trauma Acute Care Vol.4 No.1: 2.

Copyright: © 2019 Tomasella S. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The most decisive clinical and theoretical developments about psychological traumas have emerged for many psychoanalysts from their observations and their awareness during and after armed conflicts. Taking these observations into account, psychoanalysts and psychiatrists' reflection on trauma has been enriched by other conceptions and other approaches, including philosophical ones. This is particularly the case with research in phenomenology.

For Louis Crocq, military psychiatrist, “ The trauma corresponds to an unexpected confrontation with the real of death. Brutally, collapses the world of culture with which the subject lived until then. He finds himself in a world of raw sensations that no longer make sense to him. These sensations overwhelm him”. Crocq insists that the trauma corresponds to both the violence suffered and the violence given. The guilt of violence against others is very heavy, even when it is officially justified by war. This guilt often arises when the crossing of the eyes of the enemy, generating a terrible fascination [1].

It is important also to distinguish between the psychic phenomena that take place at the time of the accident and those that occur immediately afterwards. At the moment of shock, the denial of the unbearable reality creates a hole, a void, a blank. In the place of pain, appalling and impossible to understand, there is an abyss. Because of the denial, “ the trauma experienced personally leads to a cleavage of the ego, but the cleaved area is full of dangerous and unspeakable content” [2].

The main problem of the trauma is what cannot occur to the consciousness. The traumatic event is not assimilated by the subject. It remains buried as a block of reality in an out-of-reach area, like a catastrophic suffering drama, and only manifests itself in nightmares, on the occasion of an anniversary or another trauma [3]. The cleavage of the self is put in place to resist intolerable psychic suffering. Some cleavage processes help support the trauma, when a recollection of painful events becomes possible. In the meantime, this defense by negationinclusion requires high expenditure of psychic energy: the subject feels sorry not to live completely his present and lacks emotional availability to share the joys and sorrows of his relatives.

Beyond the cleavage lies also the radical defense by dissociation, as Ferenczi, after Charcot, has highlighted: disarrange with the bruised body and with the traumatic reality. The moment of the traumatic break-in corresponds to a face-toface encounter with a dissociative psychotic symptomatology responding to the fear and threat of annihilation. Sometimes referred to as traumatic psychosis, it can result from a transitory autistic state with a defensive value [3].

After the shock, when the trauma reveals its effect of destruction, the subject feels congested with a “foreign body”: his affects are blocked. The trauma leaves a “black hole”, a gap in the continuity of the subject's existence, a void of memory [1]. Trauma alters representations of oneself, the world, and the other. Moreover, for Françoise Davoine and Jean- Max Gaudilliere, the trauma results from the rupture of the social bond, from the loss of one ’ s place in their human community, and even from the disappearance of all forms of otherness, which can then cause the entry into madness.

“In the absence of a person to talk to, the trauma reduces the subject to an inner world invaded by fear and anguish of annihilation. It is doomed to loneliness, an absolute dereliction, a break with all community and cultural links. There is nothing in contemporary culture that can help reintegrate the victim into the world of the living. Death has no representation. Except sometimes through another horrified” [4].

History will continue to produce “other horrified” massively; not only because of the many armed conflicts that occur, but also through serious disasters whose devastating range is beyond measure.


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