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The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defences of the Personal Spirit [Paperback]

Donald Kalsched
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 23 1996 0415123291 978-0415123297 1
Donald Kalsched explores the interior world of dream and fantasy images encountered in therapy with people who have suffered unbearable life experiences. He shows how, in an ironical twist of psychical life, the very images which are generated to defend the self can become malevolent and destructive, resulting in further trauma for the person. Why and how this happens are the questions the book sets out to answer.
Drawing on detailed clinical material, the author gives special attention to the problems of addiction and psychosomatic disorder, as well as the broad topic of dissociation and its treatment. By focusing on the archaic and primitive defenses of the self he connects Jungian theory and practice with contemporary object relations theory and dissociation theory. At the same time, he shows how a Jungian understanding of the universal images of myth and folklore can illuminate treatment of the traumatised patient.
Trauma is about the rupture of those developmental transitions that make life worth living. Donald Kalsched sees this as a spiritual problem as well as a psychological one and in The Inner World of Trauma he provides a compelling insight into how an inner self-care system tries to save the personal spirit.

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Review

Kalsched's work is highly relevant to the current debate regarding false memory syndrome, the healing of post-traumatic stress, and openings for spiritual emergence out of sometimes life-threatening spiritual emergencies.
Exceptional Human Experience

One of the most outstanding and important contributions to the practice of Jungian analysis (and psychoanalysis altogether) that I have encountered in the last few years.
–Mario Jacoby, C. G. Jung Institute, Switzerland

About the Author

Donald Kalsched is a psychoanalyst in private practice and a faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute, New York.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In this and the following chapter, I will offer a series of clinical vignetttes and theoretical commentary in order to explore the phenomenology of a "daimonic" figure whose appearance I have encountered repeatedly in the unconscious material of patients with a history of early childhood trauma. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned psychoanalysis Oct. 10 2001
By mason
Format:Paperback
This is very traditionally psychoanaltically oriented. It doesn't make much of any use of the wealth of trauma work which has been done in the last 15 years but relies heavily on theories from a century ago--not just Jung and the frequent Jungian fairy tale analysis as the material on the book implies, but at least as much on Freud--very disappointing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still holding as an important contribution April 26 2004
Format:Paperback
Since its publication in 1996, The Inner World of Trauma by Donald Kalsched still holds its place as an important contribution to the treatment of trauma. Kalsched offers the reader a valuable bridging between analytical psychology and the psychoanalytic object-relations perspective. He delineates what develops in a child's inner world when outer life becomes traumatic. When trauma shatters the outer experience, life saving defenses arise and "assure the survival of the human spirit." The reader is reminded of the value of the psyche's dissociability in the face of trauma. Kalsched explains his formulation of the inner self-care system with its capacity for "preservation of life for the person whose heart is broken by trauma." Ironically, the images created by the psyche to protect the self can turn malevolent and continue a traumatizing inner process. In traumatized patients' dreams, the inner image may appear organized in contentious dyads. The regressed part of the personality may appear as a wounded animal or vulnerable child while the progressed part of the personality-- the part that protects or persecutes-- may appear as witch, devil or some kind of enslaving monster. In my opinion Kalsched helps the clinician to offer the trauma patient a more complete treament. Kalsched continues to bring light to "that dark background of unconscious imagery making up The Inner World of Trauma."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Archetypal Trauma Study (BPD/DID) March 3 2001
Format:Paperback
From the introduction: What dreams reveal and what recent clinical research has shown are that when trauma strikes the developing psyche of a child, a fragmentation of consciousness occurs in which the different "pieces" (Jung called them splinter-psyches or complexes) organize themselves according to certain archaic and typical (archetypal) patterns, most commonly dyads or syzygies made up of personified "beings." Typically, one part of the ego regresses to the infantile period, and another part progresses, i.e., grows up too fast and becomes precociously adapted to the outer world, often as a "false self." The progressed part of the personality then caretakes the regressed part. This dyadic structure has been independently discovered by clinicians of many different theoretical persuasions -- a fact that indirectly supports its archetypal basis.
From the back cover: In The Inner World of Trauma Donald Kalsched explores the interior world of dream and fantasy images encountered in therapy with people who have suffered unbearable life experiences. He shows how, in an ironical twist of psychical life, the very defensive images designed to protect the self from further injury can become malevolent and destructive, resulting in further trauma for the person. Why and how this happens are among the questions this book sets out to answer. Drawing on detailed clinical material, the author gives special attention to the problems of addiction and psychosomatic disorder, as well as the broad topic of dissociation and its treatment.
Donald Kalsched here brings together Jung's views on trauma and re-visions many classical interpretations of Jungian theory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading for non-clinicians, too. April 1 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Readers well grounded in Jungian concepts are most likely to find this book, in which Kalshed writes about the development of self-care systems with great insight and compassion, of value and interest. The book is readable, well written, and well organized. Part One contains clinical illustrations and the views of Jung, Freud and others on the development of self-care systems. The book is well grounded in the larger world of psychoanalytic theory. Part Two, which focuses on aspects of the daimonic in myth and fairy tales, further illustrates the perverse nature of the self-care system which both preserves and destroys. This is a book I have returned to many times.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have read and re-read this excellent book. Kalsched makes a wonderful bridge between object relations and depth psychology, bringing to bear on the problem of trauma and its attendant archetypal defenses of the self the best of both approaches.
This whole area is of great interest in clinical circles as we see so many patients with borderline, narcissitic, or schzoid characters. The understanding Kalsched offers, cast in Jungian terms, is invaluable.
The essence of the problem is that due to trauma, and keeping in mind this is almost never a single dramatic event, but rather a series of smaller, more subtle failures over time, a split occurs in the psyche. And a defense system develops to protect that essential core from further injury.
This archetypal defense system is primitive and ruthless in its efforts to guard against further assualt on the Self. It's rather like preferring the agony of the known to the terror of the unknown. Analysis with such patients is often long and difficult and the postive transference of today can rapidly dissolve into hatred and negative transference tomorrow. It requires patience from the analyst and capacity to contain the intense affects that arise.
Kalsched artfully weaves case material, theory, and fairy-tales into a challenging, readable and valuable mix.
This book is the best clinical Jungian book I have read in a long time.
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