A case-study of PTSD in infancy: Diagnostic, neurophysiological, developmental and therapeutic aspects

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Abstract

Abstract: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Infancy has become accepted as a nosological entity. Assessment guidelines and diagnostic criteria have been defined, taking into account the impact of development on the expression of post-traumatic symptoms. Therapeutic reenactment has been considered the cornerstone of the therapeutic process. The issue of deciding what is the optimal time for therapist-induced reenactment of the trauma remains ill-defined. The less verbal and the more avoidant the traumatized infant is, the more directive the therapist needs to be, meaning he will not necessarily get clues from the infant of his readiness for reenactment. The therapist will need to introduce the trauma, at the risk of provoking a massive "flight or fight" reaction, as is illustrated by the case study of a two-and-a-half-year-old post-traumatic pre verbal boy and his mother. Issues relating to conditions under which reenactment stops causing reactivation of the trauma and starts being a process of therapeutic desensitization are raised. We suggest that integration of psychodynamic and neurodevelopmental concepts might be useful in deepening the understanding of the impact of therapeutic reenactment in PTSD of Infancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-246
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Volume37
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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