Trauma, Innocence and the Core Complex of the Dissociating Psyche

Donald Kalsched

Following early relational trauma, a dissociative system is set up in the psyche, composed of part-self personifications including an innocent/wounded child and his or her archetypal protectors. The main purpose of this Self Care System is to keep the innocent/injured child-self separated from the suffering of affective experience that might annihilate (or transform) it. Dreams during the psychotherapy process give us a picture of this core complex and its defensive “efforts” on behalf of the “child.” Working with these archaic energies in the transference can be a stormy affair. The Friday Talk will address and illustrate these archaic energies in the core complex that frequently stretch our understanding of the analytic situation in the direction of enactments and counter-enactments. More details.

The Saturday workshop builds on the Friday lecture, deepens the work with the archaic energies in relational trauma, provides several clinical vignettes as illustrations, expands on the Self Care System, and invites conversation and engagement with attendees.

  More details.

Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist who practices in Brunswick, Maine. He is a senior faculty member and supervisor with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts (IRSJA), and lectures nationally and internationally on the subject of early trauma, its effect on the inner world, and its treatment. His celebrated book The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit (Routledge 1996) explores the interface between contemporary psychoanalytic theory and Jungian thought as it relates to practical clinical work with the survivors of early childhood trauma. His next book, Trauma and the Soul: A Psychospiritual Approach to Human Development and its Interruption (Routledge, 2013) explores some of the mystical or "spiritual" dimensions of clinical work with trauma-survivors. He and his wife Robin live in Topsham, Maine, during the winter, and summer in Newfoundland, Canada.