The earliest psychoanalytic theoretical formulations viewed external, usually sexual, trauma as the basic pathogenic instigator of repression and of formation of obsessions, compulsions, conversions, delusions, and phobias. Recollection with affect of that trauma was presumed to result in cure. Only in 1899 did Freud realize that that memory itself was not bedrock but itself material for further analysis. Clinical examples illustrate the notion of screen memory per se: of idealized personal myth serving to screen out upsetting features of the patient’s history, and, in the analytic understanding of post-traumatic nightmares, the adult trauma represented in the dream serving to screen predisposing childhood trauma. This pivotal turn in 1899, pointing to memory itself as something to be analyzed and abandoning the notion of bedrock memory, points to the necessity of expanding the notion of trauma beyond a single childhood sexual episode or adult trauma to a sustained cumulative trauma with the potential for exerting a continuous impact.


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pp. 89-99
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