ERIC Number: ED351659
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug-15
Reference Count: N/A
Necessary Lies and the "Secret Self": Preconscious Fantasies as a Response to Childhood Trauma.
This paper examines the consequences of the chronic trauma produced by parental inadequacy, when the need to know a painful reality is coupled with the need not to know. It follows what the author believes was Freud's intent in making a distinction between the processes of denial and disavowal. In particular, the paper examines the fantasy that occurs as part of the work of disavowing a psychic trauma that must be dealt with, and the pervasive cognitive style, which Freud called "splitting of the ego," associated with the fantasy. It argues that clinically, the presence of this cognitive style serves as an identifying marker for the processes under discussion, and analysis of this style is key to the treatment. A clinical example of a 36-year-old woman who entered treatment with overwhelming feelings of unhappiness is used to make the ideas concrete. It is noted that the "to and fro between disavowal and acknowledgement" characteristic of the doublethink process creates confusion not only in the patient but in the therapist as well and concludes that helping patients deal with this cognitive style created by early psychic trauma, requires belief in the patient's experience of consistent contradictions, and a firm commitment to exploration of the patient's conscious and preconscious thought, in addition to unconscious processes. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; 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).