TRAUMATIC DEVELOPMENTS AND PERSONALITY DISORDERS | Università degli studi di Bergamo - Didattica e Rubrica


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Modalità di erogazione: 
Didattica Convenzionale
Primo Semestre
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Psicologia dinamica e clinica


Educational goals

First part.
At the end of the course the student should have acquired:
a) A knowledge of psychodynamic principles starting with Freud on trauma, repression, unconscious, and trauma theory as modified by Sandor Ferenczi, John Bowlby, Allan Schore, Philip Bromberg, Andre' Green, Henry Krystal, Otto Kernberg;
b) The distinction of the consequences between psychological traumatization starting from early relational trauma (Schore) to maltreatment and abuse (Ferenczi) to the most recent diagnosis in use in contemporary Manuals such as DSM-5 and PDM-2 (including the concepts of PTSD e PTSD complex) and the concept of traumatic dissociation;
c) A knowledge of the connections between psychoanalysis and attachment theories (Bowlby and most recent revisions, as in Ammaniti, Stern e Schore) and of the consequences of primary traumatizations on affect regulation on the body-mind brain system;
d) A knowledge of the individual and social mechanisms of transmission in massive traumatizations of the kind of the Holocaust with a study of the clinical consequences of intergenerational transmission of trauma of human agency including the neurobiological explanations of those dynamics, focusing also on group dynamics and the collective repair through practices of reconciliation, forgiveness and testimony.

Second part:
a) The fundamental principles in order to make a diagnosis of the traumatic and dissociative aspects of trauma of human agency, first, second and third level, and of evaluating the levels of affect dysregulation and of insecure or disorganized attachment in severe psychopathologies of borderline and narcissistic levels, with a consideration of the various mind-body-brain systems and the possible implication on psychosomatic effects;
b) The comprehension of the psychodynamics underneath individual and social violence, in perverse personalities, in antisocial and malignant narcissists;
c) A comprehension of the psychobiological, neurobiological and social aspects including family dynamics leading to violence, abuse and aggressiveness with a study of relational psychodynamic interventions that can lead to reconciliation, forgiveness, compassion, empathy and well-being.
d) The neurobiological, relational and social consequences of traumatizations leading to psychopathology, with somatizations in post-traumatic disorders and dissociative disturbance. The concepts of resilience and vulnerability.

Course content

Contents of the first part of the course:
- Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theories about individual and collective or social trauma, starting with the theories of Freud, Ferenczi, Bowlby arriving at Kernberg and other contemporaries such as Bromberg and Laub, with revision of the concept of trauma and dissociation.

- Concepts of PTSD as in DSM and Complex PTSD as in PDM-2,and relevance for psychopathology of the difference between human hand trauma and natural disaster trauma

- Dissociation as a basic structure of severe underlying traumatic disorders vs. the traditional psychoanalytic vision based on repression

- New theories on the unconscious: difference between the repressed unconscious and the non-repressed unconscious (on a dissociative basis)

Contents of the second part of the course:

- Intergenerational consequences of traumatization and clinical study of interpersonal and group traumatization with dynamics of transmission. Social violence; antisociality and psychopathy. Post-traumatic disorders in mass social contexts. PTDS, alexithymia, dissociation and psychosomatics of post-traumatic origin.

- How to work in therapy considering the levels of traumatization, including intergenerational trauma and Complex PTSD, for example with cases of traumatic-based disorders such as borderline, narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, and how to repair dissociation and disorganization of attachment. Origins of violence in individual and collective-social contexts and neurobiological foundations of narcissistic and antisocial pathologies.

- Diagnosis of personality disorders in a continuum from the least severe (Hysteric / histrionic) to the most severe (antisocial) and notes on the main treatments such as transference-centered therapy (TFP, Kernberg), treatment based on mentalization (MBT, Fonagy ) and affective regulation therapy (ART, Schore and further review by Mucci)

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures and discussions on the material assigned. Case examples (from the texts) will be analysed to better illustrate the modalities of diagnoses and interventions and how to formulate the assessment.

Assessment and Evaluation

The evaluation will take place through an oral exam which should evaluate the actual understanding of the material read, a critical discussion of what had been learned and the acquisition of the educational goals predicted. There is no in-between exam before the end of the course.
A pass is 18/30, the maximum score is 30/30 cum laude.

Further information

Erasmus students should contact the instructor of the course as soon as possible to prepare an appropriate program.
If the course is taught in blended or distance learning modes, there will be possible changes to make the lessons and the exams more suitable for these learning modes. In the event of provisions by the competent authorities regarding containment, respect and management of the epidemiological emergency, the teaching could undergo changes to what is declared in the syllabus to make the course and exams in line with what is provided.