Freud on memory, the primal scene and the concept of Nachträglichkeit

In the earliest phase of his work (in what has been characterized as the affect-trauma frame of reference which lasted up to 1897) Freud believed a single event that had occurred in one’s actual life to be the cause of the trauma; trauma was considered to be a ‘once-and-for-all affair’ (King 2005: 189). The focus of psychotherapy was on remembering the original trauma; by making it available to memory the symptoms would subside. Nonetheless, as Freud had observed, time had a particularly strange behaviour in the psyche. As he observed in 1897 in Draft M ‘neglect of the characteristics of time are no doubt essential for the distinction between activity in the preconscious ...

Get Time and Timelessness now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.