Micro-traumatic Experience: Identifying and Healing its Cumulative Toxic Effects

October  17-31, 2016

Faculty: Margaret Cranstnopol

In this webinar, we will explore the “micro-traumatic” or small, subtle psychic hurts that build up to undermine a person’s sense of self-worth, skewing his or her character and compromising his or her relatedness to others. These types of injuries are significant but hitherto unformulated contributors to what’s been called “cumulative” or “relational trauma.”  Drawing on several chapters from my 2015 book on the subject, to be amplified with newer material and examples, we will examine certain specific patterns of injurious relating that cause damage in predictable ways; we will see how these destructive processes can be identified, curtailed, and replaced by healthier ways of functioning.Three of these micro-traumas—“psychic airbrushing and excessive niceness,” “uneasy intimacy,” and “connoisseurship gone awry”—have a predominantly positive emotional tone, while the other four—“unkind cutting back,” “unbridled indignation,” “chronic entrenchment,” and “little murders”—have a distinctly negative one.

Over the course of our webinar conversation, will see how these dynamics are represented in literature, drama, psychoanalytic accounts, and everyday life. And we’ll use the concept of micro-trauma as a framework for thinking together about how to identify and work through other kinds of injurious patterns that have arisen in participants’ practices and in their own lives. I look forward to a creative and generative exchange among us all.

Micro-trauma: A Psychoanalytic Understanding of Cumulative Psychic Injury (Routledge, 2015)

Link:  http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415800365/  (use discount code RMH02 for reduced price and free shipping)


Margaret Crastnopol, PhD (Peggy) is a faculty member of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and a supervisor of psychotherapy at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology. She is also a training and supervising analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles. She writes and teaches nationally and internationally about the analyst’s and patient’s subjectivity; the vicissitudes of love, lust, and attachment drives; and varieties of micro-trauma. Dr. Crastnopol is a founding board member and currently the secretary of the Board of Directors of the IARPP. She is in private practice for the treatment of individuals and couples in Seattle, Washington.