"[H]onest and compassionate..., based usually on direct clinical experience and mercifully free of second-hand-trauma-posturing by cultural studies professors." Ben Shephard, Times Literary Supplement
Harvard University Press
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According to the poet Elias Canetti, "All the things one has
forgotten / scream for help in dreams." To the ancient
Egyptians they were prophecies, and in world folklore they
have often marked visitations from the dead. For Freud they
were expressions of "wish fulfillment," and for Jung,
symbolic representations of mythical archetypes. Although
there is still much disagreement about the significance and
function of dreams, they seem to serve as a barometer of
current mind and body states.
In this volume, Deirdre Barrett brings together the study of
dreams and the psychology of trauma. She has called on a
distinguished group of psychiatrists, psychologists, and
social workers--among them Rosalind Cartwright, Robert J.
Lifton, and Oliver Sacks--to consider how trauma shapes
dreaming and what the dreaming mind might reveal about
trauma. The book focuses on catastrophic events, such as
combat, political torture, natural disasters, and rape. The
lasting effects of childhood trauma, such as sexual abuse or
severe burns, on personality formation, the nature of
memories of early trauma, and the development of defenses
related to amnesia and dissociation are all considered. The
book also takes up trauma and adult dreams, including
Vietnam veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,
Holocaust survivors and perpetrators, rape victims, and
firestorm survivors. Finally, this volume concludes with a
look at the potential "traumas of normal life," such as
divorce, bereavement, and life-threatening illness, and the
role of dreams in working through normal grief and loss.
Taken together, these diverse perspectives illuminate the
universal and the particular effects of traumatic
experience. For physicians and clinicians, determining the
etiology of nightmares offers valuable diagnostic and
therapeutic insights for individual treatment. This book
provides a way of juxtaposing the research in the separate
fields of trauma and dreams, and learning from their
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