chapter  14
6 Pages

Reenactment and Trauma

ByMark F. Schwartz, Lori D. Galperin

Survivors of trauma are the last people on earth who want to think of themselves as victims. Childhood trauma seems especially pernicious in comparison to adult trauma in that to feel “in control” and that there is someone to care for them, children always believe that they are the bad ones who make bad things happen. In childhood trauma, the internal experience of the child is often that a part of self splits off to contend with the myriad double-binds implicit in the abuse situation or environment—at other times to permit the child to endure the magnitude of physical and psychological pain. The goal of the new trauma therapies is not to create a society of victims. Re-enactment is a confusing concept in a rational society that prefers binary conceptualizations of right-wrong, good-bad, fault-blame-responsibility, know-don’t know. Re-enactment is both a cognitive-behavioral and learned process, as well as a more complex unconscious repetition process.