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Concentration camp imagery as a psychic organizer in dissociative identity disorder individuals : review of the literature and construction of a theoretical explanation / by M. Johanna Bujak

Publication | Library Call Number: RC553.D5 B85 1999

There are to date no published studies on children's psychic organization in the aftermath of sexual abuse. This study partially addresses that gap in the literature by focusing on self-constructs subsequent to Sadistic Incestuous Abuse (SIA) in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) individuals. A theory on the search for self-understanding in DID persons post-trauma is presented through a heuristic disaggregation of relevant studies and informal interviews with four DID individuals, followed by a recombination of the data with phenomenological insights. Empirical studies on massive trauma, incest, coping, dissociation, and self-understanding are reconceptualized in constructivist fashion to present SIA as a “total environment,” analogous to a concentration camp experience. It is suggested that being sadistically incested prevents the child from construing her experience accurately. Post-trauma, however, there may be a concurrent need to “know” and “not know.” It is postulated that she might approach her trauma obliquely, through a metaphor or “parallel trauma”—a middle ground between denial and acknowledgment. The DID individuals referred to in this study used the metaphor or self-construct of a concentration camp internee as a psychic organizer. It is demonstrated that (a) SIA and Holocaust imagery might well be linked in a more encompassing theoretical understanding of victims' self-constructs in coping post-trauma; and (b) there is a reasonableness in a SIA child's use of parallel imagery to approach her experiences obliquely, thereby avoiding direct knowledge of them, containing them, organizing them, and providing a vocabulary to express them. Rather than looking only at symptoms and coping strategies, it is recommended that attention also be focused on traumatized clients' self-generated metaphors.

Format
Book
Author/Creator
Bujak, M. Johanna (Mary Johanna)
Published
1999
Includes bibliographical references (p. 210-238)
Language
English
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Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/bib77907