This book takes a deeper look into the darker side of the human condition by examining the psyches of those who have been victims or survivors of heius acts perpetrated by others. From the personal Holocaust of sexual abuse in the family, to the gecidal persecution during the Holocaust, and from the shared national horror of September 11 to the Palestinian/Israeli situation, a special model of the traumatized mind is evolved to further our understanding of such dark matters .The traditional models of the mind fall short when dealing with extraordinary people under ordinary conditions as well as with ordinary people under extraordinary conditions. This metapsychology is organized around the defensive operations of repression or splitting. In the model proposed here, defensive altered states of consciousness, or dissociation seems more helpful. A historical perspective is offered, from Freud and Breuer, with their Studies on Hysteria, to current thinking about dissociative disorders. A developmental line of dissociation is also explored. Extensive case material is presented to illustrate the theoretical as well as technical challenges of working with the lapses of memory, unbearable affects, and countertransference demands upon the clinician.
Ira Brenner, MD, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, where is he also Director Emeritus of the Adult Psychotherapy Training Program. He has developed a special interest in the area of psychological trauma and has co-edited two special issues of the 'International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies' where he is Associate Editor of the section on trauma. He has also written four books: 'The Last Witness: The Child Survivor of the Holocaust' (co-authored with Judith Kestenberg); 'Dissociation of Trauma: Theory, Phenomenology, and Technique'; 'Psychic Trauma: Dynamics, Symptoms, and Treatment'; and 'Injured Men: Trauma, Healing, and the Masculine Self'. In 2008, Dr Brenner received the President's Award from the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia for extraordinary service. He is also the recipient of the Gratz Research Prize from Jefferson for work on the Holocaust; the Piaget Writing Award; and the Gradiva Award.