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Aisling Campbell – Conference Report – Trauma in Charlton


THE LETTER 07 (Summer 1996) pages 112-113


Charlton, in South London, is now no longer known only for its soccer team; it was also the venue for the first of the one-day conferences run by the Greenwich Consortium of Psychotherapists on topics of interest to anyone involved in psychotherapy or related disciplines. The topic of the first conference, held in October 1995 was Trauma’ and the convenor was Dr. Martin Stanton, who will already be familiar to Irish readers through his work on Ferenczi and Laplanche. Three speakers, of whom I was lucky enough to be one, were invited to speak on particular areas related to trauma to a small but most attentive and interested audience.


Dr. Ian Palmer, a military psychiatrist working in Woolwich, presented an overview of the concept and history of post-traumatic stress disorder in the context of the military. In the story of Ricky, a soldier whose unbearable experiences of mutilation and destruction in Northern Ireland made ‘normal* life seem a mere sham, Dr. Palmer presented us with a man struggling to reinstate for himself a relation to the symbolic that would allow him to have a meaningful existence outside of war. Dr. Palmer’s very personal and detailed presentation of this tragicomic history illustrated that trauma, in essence, is what makes the phantasy that orientates our existence no longer tenable. Then we are faced with the real in all its inescapable horror. …

Conference Report – Trauma in Charlton

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