In the Wake of Trauma (Paperback)

Psychology and Philosophy for the Suffering Other

By Eric Severson (Editor), Brian Becker (Editor), David M. Goodman (Editor)

Duquesne, 9780820704982, 285pp.

Publication Date: December 13, 2016

List Price: 35.00*
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When traumatic experiences occur, our patterns of living--the ways in which our bodies and minds have grown accustomed to feeling and reacting--are threatened. When psychologists, philosophers, or theologians turn their attention to trauma, they face a daunting task, as trauma is a concept that is incredibly difficult to understand and to describe. Yet it is crucial to persist; if such disciplines can offer nothing about trauma, then they betray their very purpose and those people who have been traumatized. By drawing on resources across these disciplines (and others), the contributors here struggle together to foster conversation that deepens the ability of practitioners and theoreticians alike to engage with the effects of trauma.

The essays range over a diverse landscape for inspiration--discussing thinkers such as Augustine, Ranciere, Foucault, Freud, Heidegger, Kristeva, and Lacan; literary works from Homer to Shakespeare to Joyce; case studies from clinical practice, film, even the book of Job--all in order to identify new avenues for working through trauma's far-reaching effects, both for individuals and in its social and collective dimensions. Though these authors certainly do not speak with a singular voice, the volume is held together by an underlying "ethical turn," a commitment to acknowledge the subjectivity of the victim. As the work demonstrates, this allows a kind of exploration not possible when adhering to a particular methodology or theory, thus avoiding the reductionism common to medical models for mental health.

It is sometimes said that trauma remains with us in our cells, at a level beneath the analysis of memory and scars. As this volume argues, even this profound insight does not push far enough. As difficult as it may be to understand trauma and to deal with its reverberations, the process of trying to do so can be transformative--even hopeful.

About the Author

ERIC SEVERSON previously directed the Center for Responsibility and Justice at Eastern Nazarene College. He is the author of several books, including Scandalous Obligation: Rethinking Christian Responsibility, 'I More than Others' Responses to Evil and Suffering, and The Least of These: Selected Readings in Christian History. DAVID M. GOODMAN is a licensed clinical psychologist, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services at the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College, psychoanalytic studies faculty at Boston College, director of the Psychology and the Other project, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis faculty, and a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Hospital. Dr. Goodman also has a private practice in Cambridge. BRIAN BECKER is a research fellow with the Psychology and the Other project and assistant professor of neuropsychology at Lesley University. He is the founder and director of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Lesley and a visiting scholar at Boston College.