Chapter

How much truth and how much reconciliation? Intrapsychic, interpersonal, and social aspects of resolution

Deborah Spitz

in Trauma, Truth and Reconciliation

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780198569435
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754449 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780198569435.003.0007

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

How much truth and how much reconciliation? Intrapsychic, interpersonal, and social aspects of resolution

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A therapist and patient approach truth and reconciliation as personal matters, explored through the creation of an individual narrative. For individuals who have experienced a traumatic event such as rape, however, the issues of truth and reconciliation are social and political as well, because a severe social injustice has occurred. Psychotherapeutic experience suggests that for patients who present with histories of trauma, telling and understanding and retelling in the creation of a narrative may not be enough to bring about healing. The psychiatric literature on post-traumatic stress disorder has, understandably, focused more on symptom management and on the relationship between patient and therapist than on societal aspects of healing (Davidson, 2003). This chapter draws on psychotherapeutic work with patients struggling with trauma, to explore the limits of narrative and to inquire what processes beyond psychotherapy alone might foster closure. I argue that psychotherapy can provide a place to identify and clarify past events, and to explore feelings and psychological consequences of those events, but that it cannot provide reconciliation. This chapter will examine why.

Chapter.  5075 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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