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Trauma Lives in Speech

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The author approaches the topic through infant observation. At the age of eight months the baby moves in the borderland between the physical and the symbolic. When the baby hurts herself, she needs the mother's arms to protect her: at the same time, her budding spoken symbol "mama" is comforting in itself, it carries the memory of the mother's arms. Can speech – tone of voice, rhythm, pauses – and the moments of loss, absence, the losing of self also be intertwined? The author discusses the question of how trauma starts to live in speech through two patients. She talks about "a silent language" which speaks in between the words and sentences – changes the rhythm of speech, makes lose words, tears a hole in speech. This "silent language" talks about trauma, reaches for its very essence – a bodily experience and meaning to the wholeness/disruption of self.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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