Disrupting the normalization of clinical discourses of trauma

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History and Philosophy


This essay examines the background and current status of the concept of psychological trauma, especially in the historical context of feminist debates about recovered memory. This historical context is the arena in which the concept of psychological trauma has been fought and from which clarity can be gleaned for the purposes of philosophical counseling. I argue that philosophical counselors should reject the presuppositions of the dissociative model of traumatic memory and to consider the positive implications, for philosophical counseling, of feminist, intersectional, and cognitive research agendas that examine the malleability and healing of traumatic memories by client normative capacities for resilience, autonomy, and narrativity. I urge philosophical counselors to be skeptical toward the idea of extreme dissociative models of memory that imply the absolute collapse of a client’s normative capacities. This skepticism is justifiable not because empirical clinical research has disproved the existence of extreme dissociative states (which it has not done), but rather because there is experimental and normative evidence to support alternative constructive therapeutic stances toward dissociative states.

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