|Lecture: Early Trauma and Dreams: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit Experiences in early childhood that cause unbearable psychic pain or anxiety (trauma) can leave the personality and the human spirit threatened with destruction. In this lecture, using dream examples from the clinical situation and the fairy tale of Rapunzel, we will see how an archetypal defense emerges to save the imperishable human spirit from further trauma, but at the price of encapsulating a core of selfhood, thus cutting it off from life. Psychotherapy of this trauma complex will be discussed.
Workshop: From Bewitchment to Enchantment: Transformational Process in the Psychoanalysis of Early Trauma Patients who have suffered severe early trauma often find themselves bewitched by dark tyrannical voices assaulting them from within, leading to intense anxiety and depression. In dream work with such patients, the dark inner voices reveal themselves as both archaic and typical – hence archetypal – personifications whose inner purpose seems to be the defense of a vulnerable core of selfhood to make sure it is never violated again. However, in defending the true self against further trauma, the archetypal defenses also persecute and demoralize it, cutting off all hope for life-in-relationship to others. Therefore the positive side of the Self cannot constellate and the individuation process cannot get started. In successful depth psychotherapy these archetypal defenses slowly lose their power as their bewitching energy slowly becomes humanized in the transference and is transmuted into a mature capacity for love and creative living (enchantment). In this workshop, clinical material as well as the Grimm’s fairy tale Fitcher’s Bird (sometimes called Fitcher’s Vogel) will be utilized to illustrate this process. Attendees are asked to read the tale before the workshop. Versions of the story can be found online at:
You might also be interested in:
- Cindy Sherman Photographs from her book Fitcher’s Bird
- Reed College Student Susan Reagel’s Thesis Artwork
Donald E. Kalsched, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst with a private practice in Katonah, N.Y. He is a faculty member and supervisor at the C.G. Jung Institute in New York City and is also Dean of Jungian Studies specialty at the Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. His recent book The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit was published in 1996 (Routledge).