The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defences of the Personal Spirit, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Inner World of Trauma

Archetypal Defences of the Personal Spirit, 1st Edition

By Donald Kalsched


240 pages

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Paperback: 9780415123297
pub: 1996-11-07
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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.


'This book makes exciting reading. Scholarship linking many different schools of psychotherapists is combined imaginatively with the main theory and with clinical examples … I warmly recommend this book.' - Journal of the Brisith Association of Psychotherapists

'Don Kalsched's book is a tour de force … one finds oneself referring to it constatnly when working with these extremely difficult, very vunerable patients.' - The Round Table Review

About the Author

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

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