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Chapter 3

SOCB22H3 Chapter 3: Radical Understanding

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Lauren Spring

The purpose of this article is to help pave the way for more radical counseling with traumatized individuals, communities, and nations. The author critiques the post-traumatic stress disorder conceptualization and psychiatry fundamentally, builds on and critiques feminist and other radical contributions to trauma theory, suggests directions for feminists, theorizes trauma from a radical perspective, and draws implications for practice. Conclusions include the following: A deficit trauma model is inappropriate; institutions of the state must be seen as critical in the creation of trauma; there must be a fundamental break with psychiatry; and trauma work should move in the direction of radical adult education.  Emergency of feminist therapy, trauma became a central framework through which professional helpers view violence against women, with one consequence being a shift in trauma theory  Women are traumatized by everyday violence against women just as men are  Purpose of this article is to help pave the way for more radical trauma work, means are the following: bringing together radical insights, critiquing, shedding light on choice points, articulating a radical theory of trauma and drawing implications for practice Feminist contributions to trauma theory Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the feminist engagement with PTSD  Feminists have involved themselves with definitions of PTSD as set forth in respective editions of the DSM  Related criticism raised about PTSD is that it does not describe the effects of repetitive violence and victimization Problems within feminist praxis (practice plus theory)  Feminist trauma practitioners have been at the forefront in critiquing the DSM and pioneering more radical approaches to trauma Understanding institutional psychiatry and the implications of understanding  Invented the concept of mental disorder and broken it down into distinct diagnostic categories, psychiatrists impose the categories on vulnerable others, while studying those others and calling the result knowledge Where do we go from here?  I recommend that feminists and other radical theorists engaged in trauma praxiswork together at theorizing trauma, for we need each other’svoices, and we need to create more comprehensive radical theory if our work is to be truly emancipatory. That is, we need theory that builds on our respective knowledges, that isfree of psychiatric vocabulary and conceptualization, and that explicitly theorizes social structures and their role. What follows is theorizing toward that end. Meaning for radical practice  One clear implication of my analysis is that it would generally be preferable for practitionersto use a continuum conceptualization in work with traumatized clients, inviting clients to see themselves on a trauma continuum on which everyone is located. A continuum conceptualization, of course, should not be used to equate what isblatantly unequal or to accommodate total subjectivism. In this regard, we are not traumatized by an event or condition simply because it has distressed us all our lives or because we ourselves apply the term trauma. Abstract  The purpose of this article is to help pave the way for more radical counseling with traumatized individuals, communities, and nations.  The author critiques the post
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