IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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II. G. The Evolution of the Theory of Regression and Trauma The fate of this concept, with its emergence and its disappearance following the diphasic processual reality that it indicates, may be explained by the internalization of the notion of traumatism within metapsychology. At the beginning of his works, Freud linked the trauma to a too early seduction (Freud, 1893-1895) involving another real person , the seducer. The event of the traumatic seduction precipitates the temporality of the development of sexuality or of the ego, which are awaked too early, leading to precociousness of the sexuality or prematurity of the ego. Then the definition of the traumatic event evolves in Freud’s writings. He thought that the traumatic effect comes from unconscious fantasies, which become efficient after their repression. Thus, the psychic traumatism appears nachträglich. Within his theory of narcissism, the trauma is due to a conflict involving the re- sexualisation of narcissism under the influence of instinctual drive demands, the conflict between sexual impulses and ego impulses. This conflict is an effect of the negative attraction from the primal repression. This conception links up with the one present in the 1893- 1895 “Studies of Hysteria” of an attraction coming from the traumatic core subject to repression. In 1915, Freud (1915a) adds that this repression takes place under the influence of the negative attraction from the primary repression, which is the original unconscious act. As from 1917, this negative effect of the traumatic event continued to gain importance due to the study of war neuroses. This resulted in the recognition of a traumatic neurosis outside the domain of the pleasure principle. This situation challenged to some extent the theory of dreams. From now on, they were not always accomplishments of wishes. In 1920, Freud (1920) linked the notion of trauma to a quality inherent in the nature of the drives themselves, their generic tendency to return to a previous state, and ultimately to the inorganic state. The traumatic dimension is internalized. The event becomes endo-psychic. It may be triggered by an external event, a trauma , but may also have an endogenous origin. This negative attraction searches, changes and co-opts, even sometimes creates, an external event allowing for the elaboration of a false connection, a false causal theory with the aim of modifying this negative power of the regressive economy.


III. A. Nachträglichkeit in French Psychoanalysis The account of this concept does not stop there, however. It continues a trajectory, which completes the enactment of what it designates. Following a first period of manifest emergence, and a disappearance that went unnoticed, it resurfaced in France with Jacques Lacan. At this


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