This article traces four modes of traumatic testimony that are distinguished from one another in the degree of the psychic motility they succeed to form in relation to traumatic memories: the metaphoric, the metonymic, the excessive-psychotic, and the Muselmann-psychotic modes of testimony. While the metaphoric mode is characterized by the simultaneous holding of the position of the victim (the experiencing I) and the position of the witness (the narrating I), the other three modes are gradually declining in their capacity to hold the traumatic memories in mind in a way that allows for transformation and healing. These four modes are illustrated through a close reading of various testimonies suggesting that the core of the psychoanalytic treatment of trauma lies in the attempt to enable the crucial shift from the metonymic, the excessive, and the Muselmann modes of testimony to the metaphoric one, which is the only force that can turn the traumatic lacuna into a creative force.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
Copyright © Melvin Bornstein, Joseph Lichtenberg, Donald Silver.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology