Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This theoretical thesis examines self psychology and trauma theory, specifically Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery. A brief history of the psychodynamic study of the influence of trauma on mental illness will be given to orient the present discussion in the field of psychodynamic theory. Major concepts of self psychology, such as selfobject, mirroring, idealization and twinship will be reviewed. Herman's stages of recovery for the trauma survivor, namely establishing safety, remembrance and mourning, and reconnection will be summarized. I will then present my understanding of trauma as anti-mirroring behavior, trauma's ability to corrupt the idealized, and the twinship qualities of the reconnection phase of recovery. A case example is presented to elucidate my understanding of the selfobjects and selfobject functions at work in Herman's conceptualization of the recovery process.


Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iii, 85 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 81-85).