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  Trauma is a word (originally Greek) used in medicine for wounds, fractures and burns, but in psychology it is used to describe an unexpected experience which the subject is unable to assimilate, the response being one of shock rather than physical injury. Psychodynamic therapies deal with early life traumas which have been blotted out. Trauma equals any experience mastered by mental defence mechanisms. Cut off from consciousness in this way, trauma can become anxiety and develop into neurosis. In psychoanalysis, infantile trauma (deprivation and separation) can cause adult neuroses; this is a causal concept, against the will of the subject. According to Freud all neurotic illness is the result of infantile trauma. In cognitive therapies early trauma is seen to lead to idiosyncratic beliefs and attitudes. In Transactional Analysis the trauma is seen to produce a ‘scripting’ process whereby the person limits their own capacity for intimacy, spontaneity and awareness. MJ  



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