Trauma and Representation in the Analysis of a Psychosomatic Adolescent

April 13, 2019, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Dr. Brown explores the relationship between trauma and the capacity for representation and how powerful traumatic experiences may hobble the mind's capacity for thinking; thus causing a breakdown of symbol formation and the emergence of concrete modes of cognition. Freud's views on the nature of trauma are discussed, in particular his notion of a protective shield (Reizschutz) that envelops the psyche. Current theories of the object relational aspects of this 'shield' are explored, with a specific focus on the importance of the internalized combined parental figure (Klein, 1945; Brown, 2011) as a vital component of that protective shield. In addition, a theory of trauma from a Bionian perspective is offered that is augmented by contributions from the French Psychosomatic School. Lastly, an extensive clinical vignette from the analysis of an adolescent male is offered to illustrate the near total collapse of his psychic functioning and a compensatory regression to a psychosomatic world.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this course, participants should be able to:

• Explain Freud's concept of the "protective shield" in trauma

• Discuss various psychoanalytic theories of the development of representational capacities

• Apply insights and techniques described in the treatment of traumatized adolescents

Lawrence J. Brown, PhD, is a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute (BPSI) in both Child and Adult psychoanalysis, a Supervising Child Analyst and Co-chair of the Child Analysis program at BPSI. He is on the Editorial Board of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly and is President of the Boston Group for Psychoanalytic Studies. He was Co-Chair of the Bion in Boston International Conference in 2009 and also co-chaired the Bion in Marrakech meeting in 2013. His book, Intersubjective Processes and the Unconscious: An Integration of Freudian, Kleinian and Bionian Perspectives, was published in 2011 by Routledge, and he also co-edited two other recent books: Growth and Turbulence in the Container/Contained: Bion's Continuing Legacy (with Howard Levine), Routledge, 2013; and On Freud's 'Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning' (with Gabriela Legorreta), Karnac Books, 2016. His new book, Transformational Processes in Clinical Psychoanalysis: Dreaming, Emotions and the Present Moment, was published last month by IPA Publications and Routledge. He is the author of many papers dealing with such topics as the Oedipus complex, trauma, countertransference dreams, the analytic setting, aspects of Bion's work, autistic spectrum disorders in children and the paintings of JMW Turner.

Target Audience: This conference will be informative for mental health clinicians from all disciplines at every level of development and students as well. 


IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of ths CME/CE program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for the maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required for psychologists to receive credit; partial credit may not be awarded based on APA guidelines. For the psychologists’ records, certificates of attendance are provided at the completion of the course.  


The New Center for Psychoanalysis is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency. 

REGISTERED NURSES: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is an accredited provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider #CEP1112). Registered Nurses may claim only the actual number of hours spent in the educational activity for credit.