Psychoanalysis and Credulity

Herman illustrates how Freud’s empathy for his female patients led to real progress in identifying childhood sexual trauma (8), but the sheer number of women diagnosed with “hysteria” indicated a ubiquity of sexual abyss that Freud couldn’t accept as possible (9).       From Herman (11):  I suspect that the initial analysis of hysteria had less…

The Sciences, Humanities, and Autobiography

There’s a huge tension between the sciences and the humanities as to what “counts” as knowledge, while the social sciences appear to draw from and contribute to both.  (yes, this is an extreme simplification – each individual discipline within the sciences, social sciences, and humanities will have its own connections and locations within the pantheon…

Trauma and Standpoint: Inflicting Hierarchy via Mimesis

Leys describes the memetic and antimimetic aspects of trauma to be one of the sticking points of most theories of trauma.  Past psychoanalysts found that their patients would imitate hypnotic suggestion, indicating that the memories might be implanted (citation) – the survivors of abuse also appeared to adopt the perspectives over their abusers (citation). This is…

Pathology: Normative Bifurcation

In medicine, pathology is the study of disease processes.  Pathologists identify cancer cells, and pathologists determine cause of death.  It’s a very important specialty.  But the pathological turn can also be misused to impose normative standards, leading to artificial bifurcations in the assessment of lived experience. This type of phenomenon would be like the extreme…

Pathology: the Account of Suffered Experience

From Wikipedia article on pathology: Pathology (from the Ancient Greek roots of pathos (πάθος), meaning “experience” or “suffering”, and -logia (-λογία), “an account of”) is a significant component of the causal study of disease and a major field in modern medicine and diagnosis. In my reading, I’m finding this trend where scholars pathologize the attitudes…

Public Awareness vs Individual Therapy

The women’s liberation movement has demonstrated repeatedly to the mental health profession that consciousness raising has often been more beneficial and empowering to women than psychotherapy.  In particular, the public revelation of the many and ancient sexual secrets of women (orgasm, rape, abortion) may have contributed far more toward the liberation of women than the…