Amnemonic traces: Traumatic after-effects

Άννα Ποταμιάνου

Τhis article addresses the problem of amnemonic traces. The author considers various effects that traumatic experiences can have on the psychic apparatus and, more specifically, those that give rise to situations in which nothing is remembered and nothing is repeated by the patient. She presents data from the analyses of two patients and explores whether it might be possible to give a more accurate description of factors and processes that accelerate the fading of traumatic experiences from the memory network. As somatic disturbances, or illnesses, often accompany or follow traumatic upheavals, the author examines some examples of how somatic events can be viewed as linked to traumatic turmoil and understood as channels of expression of what remains silent in the mental realm. Some suggestions concerning prerequisites for analytic work with patients who confront the analyst with ruptures and erasures in mental functioning and with reductions in mental processing are discussed. How the analyst’s psychic economy is involved while working with such patients is also considered.