chapter  7
19 Pages

Julie’s museum: the evolution of thinking, dreaming, and historicization in the treatment of traumatized patients

Some 60 million years ago, an enormous meteor, too large to be incinerated as it penetrated through the multiple levels of the earth’s protective atmosphere, crashed into the Yucatan peninsula and raised a cloud of thick dust that choked off much of our planet’s life at the time. This destructive meteor, originating from an unknown place external to the earth, created a caesura (Bion, 1977a; Freud, 1926), a sudden break in the extant way of life, and required new adaptations in order for organisms to survive. The reign of the dinosaur kingdoms came to a rapid end – the demise of a powerful dynasty of leviathans relegated to the annals of natural history whose greatness paleontologists were later to discover and which provides an endless source of fascination and awe for many children. The latency-age child’s fascination with the world of dinosaurs seems to resurrect the sense that there was an epoch in his own history when he was an invincible titan, an era that has been lost and that requires new adjustments. However, for some children, the demand to slowly let go of an omnipotent world and evolve into the practical realm of latency is experienced as a premature and devastating end to a way of being from which he may never recover. These children must often resort to

desperate maneuvers, such as brittle narcissistic structures, which restore a semblance of the lost omnipotence but also stifle evolution of the self.