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[…] Trauma and Existence is a book in intimate accord with Gestalt therapy hermeneutics, the fundamental results of which it seems to grasp in psychoanalytic sessions. In passing from ”drive” to ”affect,” from Cartesian split to holism – or rather to the integrated consideration of cognitive and emotional – from the intrapsychic to the relational, Trauma and Existence in fact proposes an alternative model of psychoanalytic theory and practice which Stolorow had brought together decades ago in the channel of a new epistemology. The Gestalt therapist will read with delight and a welcoming heart the pages on which the genesis of the trauma is removed from the dominion of pure fantasy, as in Freud, or pure, subjectively unbearable suffering, to be brought back to the lack of containment and acceptance, to the absence of the other, that is, of relationship: ”Pain is not pathology. It is the absence of adequate attunement and responsiveness to the child’s painful emotional reactions that renders them unendurable and thus a source of traumatic states and psychopathology”. This is as much as to say: every relational block is changed into an intrapsychic block. Nor from a Gestalt therapy perspective can a lesser agreement prompt the equivalence between “good interpretation” and ”relational process” in therapy, but above all it is the assertion that it is the incomplete situation that happens anew in the setting, a situation upon which, however, the therapist-patient relationship confers a different, fortunate outcome.

Antonio Sichera

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