chapter  2
16 Pages

Ghostly intrusions

Unformulated trauma and its transformation in the therapeutic dyad
WithHeather Ferguson

This chapter describes the affective intersection of author's history and Frank's, ghostly ties that haunted them both, illuminated by his dream, which clarified peolpe's impasse and awakened necessary mourning. Coburn's notion of 'affective intersection' describes the coexistence of the patient's unconscious communication and analyst's resonates narcissistic vulnerability. The author's dream alerted him to the psychic loss disavowed in his history that eclipsed his ability to fully reflect, empathize, and understand Frank. The metaphor of ghosts is an inducement to attend to the complexity of unmetabolized intergenerational traumas and more proximate losses and absences that pervade the patient's experiences. The task of mourning, including integrating painful, shattering affects while understanding the full complexity of one's attachment to the deceased, is an enormous emotional undertaking for patient and analyst. Surviving mourning is an impossible burden to endure alone; healing necessitates a resonant witness who is willing to engage inevitable ruptures and needed repair in order to provide hope and expand the relational possibilities.