ERIC Number: ED348606
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug-16
Reference Count: N/A
Dissociative Reactions to Incest.
Hall, J. Mark
In contrast to Freud's later and revised view of the etiology of hysterical, or dissociative, symptoms, it is now known that real, and not fantasized, sexual experiences in childhood are experienced in disociative symptomatology. It is useful to understand that incest involves both traumatic events, that is, incidents of sexual violation per se, as well as a larger traumatic developmental context. This context is fraught with invalidation of the child's experience, irreconcilable messages by caretakers, the ongoing threat of further abuse, boundary violations, and severe disruptions in the parent/child attachment process. Given the child's inborn and age-appropriate ability to dissociate, these conditions dispose the child towards developing a dissociative disorder. The adult survivor employs dissociation to manage the memory of childhood abuse. Therapists must be attuned to the dynamics of incestuous families and the ways in which they foster dissociative defenses. This awareness helps therapists appreciate the adaptive nature of clients' dissociation, and also guides interventions towards what will be healing and not re-traumatizing. In the therapy relationship a detailed examination of the client's dissociative process provides clues as to how early abuse scenarios are replayed and re-experienced in the transference, and which need areas have been disrupted by trauma and require attention in the treatment. (ABL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).