How can therapists treat patients’ primitive anxieties and overwhelming terrors that are not accessible to verbal interpretation or insight? In psychotherapy the traumas suffered in infancy are often reawakened and reexperienced in the safety of the therapeutic relationship. However, to feel connected and safe is an oxymoron for these patients. While they desperately seek attachment, their experience of connection is one of violation and humiliation. Their ways of attaching are at the center of what terrifies patients with early trauma and, in a successful therapy, they structure the development of the transference and come also to terrify the analyst. The therapist is confronted with humiliation and abuse from patients, who find behavioral ways to communicate their histories. These patients require special connection, a new relational experience, before they can learn new relational paradigms. This book shows therapists how to understand the process of trauma re-creation, and move with the client through the reexperiencing of the early physical pain and psychological terror and the blaming of the therapist.
Dr. Hedges’s work with problems rooted in early trauma demonstrates how to stay calm and connected during the inevitable storms that characterize therapy with these difficult patients.