The “rediscovery” of physical and sexual child abuse has revived psychiatric interest in disorders arising from traumatic experiences. In The Inner World of Trauma, Donald Kalsched explores the inner world of dream and fantasy images encountered by people who have suffered unbearable life experiences. The author examines the inner world through the prism of some archaic and characteristic dream images that appear in response to critical moments in therapy. It shows how, in an ironic turn of psychic life, these very images, which are created as a defense of the self, can become harmful and destructive, which causes further trauma in the individual. Why and how this happens are the questions this book tries to answer.
What Donald Kalsched Emphasizes Explicitly in the book The Inner World of Trauma
Based on detailed clinical material, the author pays special attention to the issues of addiction and psychosomatic disorders, as well as the broad topic of dissociation and its treatment. In doing so, he combines Jung’s views on trauma and redefines classic interpretations of Jungian theories. He connects Jungian theory and practice with contemporary object relations theory and dissociation theory by focusing on archaic defenses of the self and the mythopoetic language of dreams and fairy tales. At the same time, it shows how a Jungian understanding of universal mythic images and lore can shed light on treating the traumatized patient.
In trauma, the developmental transitions that give life sense and meaning are interrupted. Donald Kalsched sees this as a spiritual as well as a psychological problem.
In The Inner World of Trauma, he provides compelling insight into how the internal self-defense system attempts to save the personal spirit.
Donald Kalsched is a psychoanalyst in private practice and a teacher at the C. G. Jung Institute in New York.