Trauma and Primitive Mental States : An Object Relations Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Trauma and Primitive Mental States
An Object Relations Perspective

ISBN 9781138364387
Published February 4, 2019 by Routledge
144 Pages

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Book Description

Trauma and Primitive Mental States: An Object Relations Perspective offers a clinically based framework through which adult survivors of early childhood trauma can re-engage with painful past events to create meaningful futures for themselves.

The book highlights the use of the body and the mind in working with these early unmentalized and unrepresented states, illustrating the value of finding language that embodies emotions, and working in the here and now of transference and counter-transference. Including a range of examples of how early trauma can thus be re-presented and clinically understood, the book illustrates how patients can discover themselves and leave their repetitive patterns of suffering behind.

Written by a clinician with over 30 years’ experience, this will be fascinating reading for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists as well as any mental health professional working with childhood trauma.

Table of Contents

Foreword Howard D. Levine, MD


Chapter 1: Between Body and Mind: Transforming Physical Experience
into Psychic Development in the Clinical Situation

Chapter 2: Affective Bridges Between Body and Mind

Chapter 3: The Silent Transference: Clinical Reflections on
Ferenczi, Klein, and Bion

Chapter 4: Somatic Countertransference

Chapter 5: Finding a Center of Gravity via Proximity to the Analyst

Chapter 6: Infantile Trauma, Therapeutic Impasse, and Recovery

Chapter 7: Finding the Impulse: Healing from Infantile Trauma

Chapter 8: The Body as a Mode of Representation



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Judy K. Eekhoff, PhD, FIPA is an IPA certified training and supervising psychoanalyst and a licensed child psychologist. Eekhoff is a full member and past president of the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society & Institute and a full faculty member of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society & Institute in Seattle, WA, USA. She has a private practice in Seattle, Washington, USA.


"Vindicating Ferenczi’s contributions on the importance of early trauma, or what I have referred as "pre-conceptual trauma", Dr. Eekhoff has produced an insightful book much needed for the psychoanalytical understanding of psychopathology. This generous and well documented contribution, also proves using clinical material, how pre-conceptual traumas could induce with time, alexithymic reactions as well as somatic pathology, as if the body attempts to dream a repetitious undreamed dream. I highly recommend this book to all professionals in the field of mental health who are interested in the comprehension of psychic trauma." --Rafael E. López-Corvo, MD, Training and supervising psychoanalyst of the IPA, Venezuelan (ASOVEP), Canadian (CPS) and American (APsA) Psychoanalytical Associations.

"Dr Eekhoff presents us with her view that mental representations are not a given. The outcome relies – she argues - on the meeting of the baby’s innate dispositions and the parental function. Through the chapters of this valuable book we are invited to follow her study of a variety of clinical experiences and pathologies, from autism to trauma, where the function of representation went awry or was arrested and how she treated them. The reader will be met with a talented writer and psychoanalyst, which Eekhoff certainly is." --Dr. Robert Oelsner, Training and Supervising Analyst, Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society & Institute and the Psychoanalytic Training Institute of Northern California, Author & Editor, Transference and Countertransference Today.

"This book is a jewel that should be studied in all psychoanalytic seminars. It is a wonderful description of clinical experience with detailed theoretical explanations. Dr. Eekhoff describes severe pathologies from the moment of birth to adulthood. Her book provides clinical examples of object relations analytic work with patients whose representations of experience have been inadequate for emotional meaning making. Throughout the book, the excellent examples of countertransference and its use in the here and now are instructive. The patient obliges the psychoanalyst to feel, without words, what happened in the first months of life. Dr. Eekhoff has the courage to write that we all have somatic reactions, but that anything is possible to be analyzed and put into words. She is courageous when dealing with what is called non-analyzables when she says "this is not impossible to treat"."--Dr. David Rosenfeld, Ex-vice-president International Psychoanalytic Association - London, Consultant Professor of Psychiatry - Buenos Aires University, Training Analyst - Buenos Aires Psychoanalytic Society.