Witnessing Across Time: Accessing the present from the past and the past from the present – PART I

We are used to the idea that trauma in the past interrupts our capacity to grasp the present. But present or recent trauma can have a similar dissociative effect on our capacity to experience the more distant past. Contemporary trauma can rob the past of its goodness, leaving one feeling as if the past is gone, dead, separated from the present. The vitalization of the present by the past or the past by the present requires that experiences be linked across time. These links are created, in both directions, via categories of experience characterized by shared affect (Modell 1990, 2006). Such categories are created, in turn, by metaphor; and the construction of these metaphors across time requires that one be able to occupy self-states in both the past and the present that can then bear witness to one another. Trauma can result in the dissociation of these self-states from one another, leading to a disconnection of present and past.

*Please contribute your comments, thoughts and views below*

closed

THE SPEAKER

Dr Donnel Stern

Donnel Stern, Ph.D. is Training and Supervising Analyst and member of the Faculty, at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City; and Faculty and Supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is the Editor of a book series at Routledge, “Psychoanalysis in a New Key,” which has 12 volumes in print and another half dozen in various stages of preparation.

Read More...


This video presentation is from Advances in Relational Psychotherapy. To find out more about this module click here.