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An Existential Approach to Dealing with Emotional Trauma: An Interview with Robert Stolorow

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and philosopher, well known for his works on intersubjectivity theory, post-Cartesian psychoanalysis, and emotional trauma. He is a Founding Faculty Member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, and at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity, New York City. He is the author and co-author of several books, including World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (2011) and Trauma and Human Existence: Autobiographical, Psychoanalytic, and Philosophical Reflections (2007).

In this interview, Dr. Robert Stolorow presents an existential approach to dealing with trauma. He begins by discussing his personal experience of traumatic loss and how he came to understand that the essence of trauma, looked at phenomenologically, is overwhelming emotional pain.” He also explains that what is overwhelming about the emotional pain and what makes it unendurable is when one has to endure it alone. He talks about how his in-depth study of existential analysis further informed his understanding of emotional trauma. Dr.Stolorow goes on to explain the therapeutic process of treating trauma, highlighting the importance of the therapist-patient relationship. He points out that the therapist can provide the “relational home” where the patient’s pain no longer has to be borne alone.

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