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Schore: Freud Was (Mostly) Right

One subtext of Cal State Chico's Children in Trauma Conference was how much Freud got right about how our minds and emotions work.

In today's session focussing on the therapeutic alliance, and how and why therapy works, Allan Schore spoke at length about counter-transferance. He said the concept has moved from psychoanalysis to most flavors of psychotherapy.

Another thing Freud got right was the existence and importance of the unconscious, which Schore says is seated in the right hemisphere.

What he didn't get right, according to Schore, was the idea that releasing the negative emotions resulted in healing.

In fact, Schore said, it's countertransference that provides the healing in psychotherapy: As therapist and patient together create trust -- a safe place -- the patient begins to dare to re-experience small doses of trauma or the hurtful feelings that had not been experienced, remembered or expressed.

According to Schore, "In the moment, the context between therapist and patient must be safe enough for the patient to begin to drop defenses and experience in his body -- and tolerate -- affects that were too dangerous to experience, to feel, let alone communicate.

"What seems to create the healing is the pairing of the reactivated traumatic memory with the context of safety and comfort. That's what didn't happen in the first place when the parent was disengaged or hyperarousing."