Giovanni Liotti, Benedetto Farina

Contemporary psycho-traumatology and the theories on the relations between conscious and unconscious mental processes

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Bottom-Up Processes; Dissociation; Ego Defense; Psychological Trauma.

Two hypotheses may explain the dissociation or dissolution of consciousness in response to traumatic experiences: the operation of an intra-psychic defensive process protecting from the mental pain of traumatic memories, and the idea that traumatic experiences and memories directly dis-integrate the higher mental processes. The two types of hypothesized mental process correspond to two different views of the relationships between conscious and unconscious mental operations: the first view consider a prevailing top-down influence where initially conscious or pre-conscious mental operations dissociate from consciousness important mental contents, while the second regards a prevailing bottom-up influence where radically non-conscious mental operations distort or inhibit conscious processes. Recent neuroscience studies, together with a neo-jacksonian evolutionary and hierarchical model of mind and brain, support the bottom-up theory of post-traumatic dissociation.

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