In his Clinical Diary, Ferenczi (1932/1988) suggested that an organizing life instinct allows the individual to survive child abuse. He called this instinct Orpha, and described it as a guardian angel who anesthetizes “the consciousness and sensitivity against sensations as they become unbearable” (p. 9). Ferenczi argued that a fragmentation however occurs in personality as a consequence of the abuse: the personality is split into a “capable part” as a “regulated mechanism” dealing with daily life and activities, secret parts that struggle in despair because they experience “the fire of suffering,” and another part containing “this suffering itself as a separate mass of affect, without contents and unconscious, the remains of the actual person” (p. 10). Ferenczi's concept of Orpha tends to correspond to our current understanding of dissociation. In fact, child abuse and neglect (CA&N) in the context of attachment relationship can generate a severe impairment in the individual's ability to integrate mental states and their related affective contents into a consistent structure of meaning (Allen, 2013). The psychological cost of dissociation is high: dissociation may involve either a loss of continuity in subjective experience, and/or an inability to access information or control mental functions, and/or a sense of experiential disconnectedness (Cardeña and Carlson, 2011). How do these considerations relate to the “ghosts in the nursery” (Fraiberg et al., 1975), the haunting internal presences that lead parents to re-enact their own traumatic past by victimizing their child?

Behind the closed doors of mentalizing. A commentary on “Another step closer to measuring the ghosts in the nursery: preliminary validation of the Trauma Reflective Functioning Scale”

SCHIMMENTI, ADRIANO
2015

Abstract

In his Clinical Diary, Ferenczi (1932/1988) suggested that an organizing life instinct allows the individual to survive child abuse. He called this instinct Orpha, and described it as a guardian angel who anesthetizes “the consciousness and sensitivity against sensations as they become unbearable” (p. 9). Ferenczi argued that a fragmentation however occurs in personality as a consequence of the abuse: the personality is split into a “capable part” as a “regulated mechanism” dealing with daily life and activities, secret parts that struggle in despair because they experience “the fire of suffering,” and another part containing “this suffering itself as a separate mass of affect, without contents and unconscious, the remains of the actual person” (p. 10). Ferenczi's concept of Orpha tends to correspond to our current understanding of dissociation. In fact, child abuse and neglect (CA&N) in the context of attachment relationship can generate a severe impairment in the individual's ability to integrate mental states and their related affective contents into a consistent structure of meaning (Allen, 2013). The psychological cost of dissociation is high: dissociation may involve either a loss of continuity in subjective experience, and/or an inability to access information or control mental functions, and/or a sense of experiential disconnectedness (Cardeña and Carlson, 2011). How do these considerations relate to the “ghosts in the nursery” (Fraiberg et al., 1975), the haunting internal presences that lead parents to re-enact their own traumatic past by victimizing their child?
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/108993
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