Analysing Patients with Traumas
Separation, Illness, Violence

Paper: 978 1 78220 335 3 / $49.95
Published: December 2017  

Publisher: Karnac Books
336 pp., 6" x 9"
This book focuses on detailed case histories of patients with severe traumas. Franziska Henningsen takes us through the successive stages of analysis and provides a graphic impression of the progress of her diagnostic and therapeutic insights into traumatic processes and their treatment. Her main interest is in the development of the transference/countertransference relationship. Traumatic experience has to be actualized within that relationship if it is to be treated successfully. Only in this way can therapeutic change become a feasible proposition. Traumatic micro-processes and trauma-sequel phenomena in transference and countertransference are described and conceptualized. Henningsen demonstrates her point with examples taken from clinical practice: illnesses experienced as traumatic; separation traumas; childhood experiences of violence; adult experiences of violence: and war, torture, and displacement that can engender PTSD. This book is a genuinely original contribution to psychoanalytic treatment of traumas.

Table of Contents:
About the author
Foreword by Werner Bohleber
Introduction: The rift in the ego

Part I: Sick Children—Sick Mothers
1) “No sick children in my house today”: death fears in children
2) “That’s my mother’s trauma, not mine”: concretistic fusion, acting-out, symbolisation
3) “We aren’t starving yet”: silence in withdrawal and communicating in images
4) Splitting and fusion

Part II: Separation Traumas
5) “This is my daughter. Take good care of her!” From objectless anxiety to separation anxiety
6) “Everyone knows my mother. Everyone except me.” Concretistic fusion and denial of object loss
7) “The greatest danger comes from myself”: destruction and guilt
8) Acting out and compulsive repetition

Part III: Experiences of Violence and Abuse in Childhood
9) A helper in search of help: splitting and psychic reality
10) “I want no part of this hell”: en route to perversion
11) “I can look after myself”: destruction and consolation in one and the same object?
12) Love and hate

Part IV: Experiences of Violence and Abuse in Adulthood: Torture and War
13) Post-traumatic stress disorder
14) Negative countertransference: depletion and resilience

Part V: Conclusion
15) Consequences for psychoanalytic technique
16) Trauma in society and politics: an outlook


Reviews & Endorsements:
"‘This is a remarkable book. It represents an unparalleled broad and comprehensive description of and reflection on traumatised individuals and the treatment they need. The detailed presentation of clinical and process material brings the reader close to the complex inner and outer reality of severely traumatised patients in a way that gives deep insight into and opens new ways of understanding the horrible after-effects of human-made harm against other human beings. Franziska Henningsen demonstrates how past traumatising experiences are actualised in the transference and are thereby made accessible for psychoanalytic therapy. Henningsen has given us one of the best guides until now for clinicians working with patients traumatised by adverse life-circumstances in different stages of life."
- Professor Sverre Varvin, training analyst, Norwegian Psychoanalytical Society, and Oslo and Akershus University for Applied Sciences