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Ghislaine Boulanger is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and a member of the Relational faculty at New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

Since the publication of her book Wounded by Reality: Understanding and Treating Adult Onset Trauma (The Analytic Press, 2007), she has taught and published extensively on the psychodynamic dilemmas facing adults who have survived violent and life threatening events.

The Quote

I am mostly concerned with those senses of self that are essential to daily social interactions… Such senses of self include the sense of urgency (without which there can be the paralysis, the sense of non-owernship of self-action, the experience of loss of control to external agents); the sense of physical cohesion (without which there can be fragmentation of bodily experience, depersonalization, out-of-body experiences, derealization); the sense of continuity (without which there can be temporal dissociation, fugue states, amnesias […] the sense of affectivity (without which there can be anhedonia, dissociated states); the sense of a subjective self that can achieve intersubjectivity with another (without which there is cosmic loneliness or at the other extreme, psychic transparency); the sense of creating organization (without which there can be psychic chaos); the sense of transmitting meaning (without which there can be exclusion from culture, little socialization, and no validation of personal knowledge).
Daniel Stern, The Interpersonal World Of The Infant A View From Psychoanalysis And Developmental Psychology

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

Ghislaine talks about how becoming involved in a research project during her internship in the 1970’s on the subject of veterans fueled her interest in trauma therapy.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Ghislaine shares an amazing story about a therapeutic mis-step she experienced during her work with a Vietnam veteran.

Ghislane’s Why

Ghislaine is driven by the fact that a lot of people find solace in and are helped by learning about the subject of adult-onset trauma.

Ghislane’s Advice

  • Get a good all-around general training before you begin studying trauma therapy.
  • Get a lot of supervision!

Ghislane’s go-to books

Articles Mentioned

  • Thornton, William, John Cain, and Marc Litle, “Trauma, Certainty, and Exile,” Contemporary Psychoanalysis 46 (2010): 355–379.
  • Dori Laub and N. Auerhahn (1989), “Failed empathy:  A central theme in the survivor’s holocaust experience.”  Psychoanal.  Psychol 6:377-400.

Interview Links

  • Ghislaine’s website
  • Ghislaine’s selected bibliography
  • Dori Laub, Holocaust Trauma Project at Yale University
  • Thornton, William, John Cain, and Marc Litle, “Trauma, Certainty, and Exile,”Contemporary Psychoanalysis 46 (2010): 355–379.
  • Dori Laub and N. Auerhahn (1989), “Failed empathy: A central theme in the survivor’s holocaust experience.” Psychoanal. Psychol 6:377-400.
Linda Gantt, PhD
Eric Strom, 1LT- MN Army National Guard

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