|Pt. I||The Origins of Traumatic Memory|
|1||Making Traumatic Memory||13|
|2||World War I||43|
|Pt. II||The Transformation of Traumatic Memory|
|3||The DSM-III Revolution||89|
|4||The Architecture of Traumatic Time||118|
|Pt. III||Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Practice|
|5||The Technology of Diagnosis||145|
|6||Everyday Life in a Psychiatric Unit||176|
|7||Talking about PTSD||224|
|8||The Biology of Traumatic Memory||264|
The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorderby Allan Young
Pub. Date: 10/27/1997
Publisher: Princeton University Press
As far back as we know, there have been individuals incapacitated by memories that have filled them with sadness and remorse, fright and horror, or a sense of irreparable loss. Only recently, however, have people tormented with such recollections been diagnosed as suffering from "post-traumatic stress disorder." Here Allan Young traces this malady, particularly as
As far back as we know, there have been individuals incapacitated by memories that have filled them with sadness and remorse, fright and horror, or a sense of irreparable loss. Only recently, however, have people tormented with such recollections been diagnosed as suffering from "post-traumatic stress disorder." Here Allan Young traces this malady, particularly as it is suffered by Vietnam veterans, to its beginnings in the emergence of ideas about the unconscious mind and to earlier manifestations of traumatic memory like shell shock or traumatic hysteria. In Young's view, PTSD is not a timeless or universal phenomenon newly discovered. Rather, it is a "harmony of illusions," a cultural product gradually put together by the practices, technologies, and narratives with which it is diagnosed, studied, and treated and by the various interests, institutions, and moral arguments mobilizing these efforts.
This book is part history and part ethnography, and it includes a detailed account of everyday life in the treatment of Vietnam veterans with PTSD. To illustrate his points, Young presents a number of fascinating transcripts of the group therapy and diagnostic sessions that he observed firsthand over a period of two years. Through his comments and the transcripts themselves, the reader becomes familiar with the individual hospital personnel and clients and their struggle to make sense of life after a tragic war. One observes that everyone on the unit is heavily invested in the PTSD diagnosis: boundaries between therapist and patient are as unclear as were the distinctions between victim and victimizer in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
- Princeton University Press
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There were times when I only thought of myself as a mere cynic regarding PTSD. Then I read Young's book. It is truly a brilliant revelation of the truth of a "disorder" possessed of all the qualities of fad, cultism. and pathological ideology. The title "The Harmony of Illusions: The Invention of PTSD" says it all.
Dr. Young has created a new paradigm in the exploration and analysis of PTSD. He offers a cogent argument that this 'disorder' is the result of cultural influences, never before considered in defining this mental disorder, and as such, has reached beyond anything preceding his work. His language is eloquent and his posture is brilliantly exposited.