• Caroline Skov Vestbjerg
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this thesis is to investigate the unfolding of trauma throughout the course of life. Trauma is a broad phenomenon grasping many nuances of the content, the context and the specific individual in hand. Trauma are often discussed in clinical constellations in regard to development of pathology herein Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). These have shortly been pre-sented with the addition of newer terms: development and attachment trauma, which elaborate the complex interplay of traumas in childhood here among neglect of care and domestic violence – physically as psychologically. I have sought to investigate the mul-tiplicity connected to these. In order to investigate the unfolding of trauma through the course of life, I found idiographic science to be a suited methodological approach in terms of understanding the systemic process of trauma through the depth of a single case. I have applied the idiographic approach in the attempt to study the subjective uniqueness allowing for an intraindividual focus upon the unfolding of traumatic expe-rience through life course. I have investigated this by using the biography of Lisbeth Zornig. Following her life, through a long-term process given her biography, I gain insights to her development of personality and behavior embedded in unique personal life contexts. This opens up for the opportunity to study the way experiences becomes weaved into lifespan and are carried on in different ways through life. The focus has been especially on development that has offered a contribution to the understanding of trauma and an expansion of the process through which it evolves.
I have made use of cultural psychological perspectives that are applied in the at-tempt to further elaborate an otherwise clinical perspective of trauma. The cultural psy-chological aspects are intended to contribute with a broader approach towards the per-son<>world dynamic. The construction of self through relating with others and the social environment has been elaborated by exploring George Herbert Mead´s theoreti-cal ideas of the I<>ME system. This has been supplemented by Jaan Valsiners theory of semiotic dynamics which has offered a way of understanding the process of mean-ing-making through sign-use and the negotiating practices within this. These have been analyzed and discussed through elaborations of the creation of self-understanding made in the interaction with the social world. Through development, encounters with specific sorts of events has undergone a re-evaluation or redefinition to be able to em-brace the movement happening through life.
A developmental perspective has been offered by Tania Zittoun who allows for a focus on development by emphasizing imagination and explorations of ruptures and transitions that are a part of development – some of which leads to change. What are affecting a development have been examined with the intention of exploring both ex-ternal and internal factors that may affect development and the stronghold of given ex-periences. These have been elaborated in the attempt to investigate how a trauma may unfold through life regardless of a positive or negative outcome. For further apprehen-sion, I have strived to intertwine clinical and cultural psychological perspectives upon trauma and development to be able to explore the unity of these giving a more holistic understanding.
A presentation of Lisbeth´s later life has been introduced and a discussion of social heritage has been conducted. Different arenas are elaborated as areas that contribute to the ability to break social heritage and become a ´pattern breaker´. Moreover, different ways of adjusting to environment and keeping a sense of self are discussed in the in-tend to elaborate coping strategies and important factors that come to affect the ability to create these. The ability to adapt through using strategies that functions as a way of maintaining oneself have been presented within the case of Lisbeth. Social support it furthermore emphasized with big importance and significant others have been present-ed in the attempt to analyze and discuss the presence and effect of these for her ability to cope and move on. For this reason, resilience and posttraumatic growth are intro-duced and discussed as ways of moving out of the circle of trauma and the ability to live on.
What is experienced through life, both traumas as ordinary experiences, becomes woven together through development and the complex interplay come to set the course of life.
Publication date30 May 2022
Number of pages664
ID: 471598403