Scientific Workshop – When the Past Never Happens: The Post Traumatic Defense of Temporal Shifting - March 5, Toronto


This paper describes a group of post-traumatic defenses which use the atemporal character of post-traumatic functioning. It begins with a brief description of a form of mental functioning that follows from trauma, which the author has previously termed the zero process. Zero process defenses are defined as defenses (ego processes) that use one or more characteristics of the zero process for defensive purposes. The zero process defense of temporal shifting uses the “just-about-to-happen” nature of the zero process to shift the trauma into the future, and to inhabit the moment just before the trauma happened. The wish that an unpleasant event would not have happened is ubiquitous, but it is only in the case of severe trauma that this wish can be felt as a reality. Because of the shutting down of the usual processing of the person’s experience during severe trauma, the experience remains not only in bits and pieces, but is not integrated with, and processed in relation to, other memories, and in a psychical sense thus remains more like a frozen experience, ready to be triggered into a present experience, rather than a memory of a past event. Thus at the psychical level the trauma has not yet happened, and the defense of temporal shifting makes use of this characteristic. The paper describes this defense, and the related defense of zero process denial, in relation to a detailed clinical example of severe sexual abuse, and also, using this clinical example, describes specific techniques that are useful in analyzing these stubborn defenses, and thus in unlocking the hold that severe trauma has on patients.

Presenter: Joseph Fernando
Clinical Presenter: Sarb Mann
Saturday, March 5, 2016: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: $160

40 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 203
Toronto, Ontario
M4T 1M9
More info here.

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