Contact Information

Company Name : Institut fur Strukturelle Korpertherapie
Location : 12 Jagdstraße Nürnberg BY 90419 Germany
Website :
Year Established : 1989
Credentials : Structural Integration Practitioner - GSI Advanced Structural Integration Practitioner Certified Hakomi Practitioner Trauma Therapy (Pat Ogden and Peter Levine)
More About Dr Herbert Grassmann

Herbert is the Chair of the Scientific Research committee European Association for Body Psychotherapy (EABP)

About his research:

Exploring the human myofascial structure and their mutual dependence on stress- and trauma regulation systems. Developing an evidence-based protocol that draws from a number of different fields including research on the autonomic nervous system, brain science, memory systems, mindfulness practices, attachment, relational object theory and infant research. On the basis of body psychotherapy and the different modalities, the research on Somatic Memory model combines techniques to a bottom-up intervention that effectively addresses underlying trauma.

Background: The field of trauma therapy is changing dramatically and a new generation of therapy is emerging. Current research shows that at the root of many physical and mental health diagnoses is trauma, specifically early childhood wounds of abuse and neglect. The research is so compelling that it suggests working in the mental health field is essentially working with traumatic wounds. As clinicians, we have come to know this, but until recently have not had effective tools to help resolve the tenacious roots of our clients' suffering.

View the Center for TRAUMA RESEARCH & Effectiveness of Body Psychotherapy.


TraumaSomatics® Access to the Present Moment Structural and Neurological Integration in the Light of Mindfulness

Dr. Herbert Grassmann is one of the co-founders of SKT€ Strukturelle Körpertherapie, and Somatic Memory Systems. He is an Advanced practitioner from the Guild for Structural Integration, Certified Hakomi Therapist, and later trained with Dr. Peter Levine and Pat Ogden. He combined principles from these three methods and subsequent experience to create and teach the traumatherapeutic method Somatic Memory Click here to view his website.   IntroductionIn general the TraumaSomatics®€ method 1 is oriented towards exploring structural and somatic experiences that lead to unconscious, meaningful memory content; helping that content to become conscious; and then processing through it. Combining Structural and Neurological Integration makes our work more demanding. Knowing that structural work is a process of organisation in space and working with the nervous system is a process of organisation in time. From this perspective, the physical body is seen as an extensive storage vault for memories, and the place where experiences are experienced. Trauma prevents people from experiencing present-moment. The process of alleviating trauma can itself be accomplished by successfully learning to experience present-moment, and because it requires learning a form of mindfulness, this process of trauma resolution is also a way to learn to bemindful. Therefor structural and neurological changes are changes on the level of relationship. PeterMelchior2 would say: You don`t change the body – you change the the relationship to your body”.The Problem of Non-RealizationPierre Janet developed a concept he calls the non-realization of a traumatic event. Janet3 observed that traumatized individuals appear to have had the evolution of their lives arrested. They are “attached” to an obstacle which they cannot go beyond. The happening we describe as traumatic has brought about a situation to which the individual ought to react. Adaptation is required, and adaptation is achieved by modifying the outer world and by modifying oneself. Now, what characterizes these “attached” patients is that they have not succeeded in liquidating the difficult situation. Many traumatized people have a subliminal awareness of their traumatization, but cannot bear to put it into words. They tend to evade all references to the event. If they are confronted with it, they become highly anxious, a phenomenon which Janet called a phobia for the traumatic memory, and which Van der Kolk4 regarded as an inability to tolerate the feelings associated with the trauma. Their anxiety is, in fact, an act of separating themselves from the traumatic memory, a flight from the act of realization. For them, the event seems never to have occurred.Janet called this the hysterical form of non-realization, which was most clearly demonstrated in MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). MPD occurs when a little girl who is abused imagines it happening to somebody else. As an adaptation to continuing abuse, she creates alter personalities who alone suffer the abuse. Non-realization is complete in this child in the sense that for her, the abuse seems not to exist at all. For her traumatized alter personalities, the experience of the abuse continues to exist as dissociated “traumatic memories” and, as such, these too are also not realized. In Pierre Janet's original treatment approach to post-traumatic stress, three phases could be distinguished: (1) containment, stabilization, and symptom reduction; (2) modification of traumatic memories; and (3) personality integration and rehabilitation. Janet's stage model is very similar to the TraumaSomatics®€ model of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A central focus in both models of treatment traumatized patients is the processing of their traumatic memories. This enables them to overcome their phobia for, and avoidance of these traumatic memories, to reverse the dissociation of these memories, to realize the distressing experiences, and to integrate them into the whole of their personality. The total process of therapy can be described in terms of increasing realization.Mindfulness in the Light of Neurobiological ResearchOne of the most robust findings of the neuroimaging studies of traumatized people is that, under stress, the higher brain areas involved in “executive functioning” (planning for the future, anticipating the consequences of one’s actions, and inhibiting inappropriate responses) become less active. Clinical experience shows that traumatized individuals, as a rule, have great difficulty attending to their inner sensations and perceptions—when asked to focus on internal sensations they tend to feel overwhelmed, or deny having an inner sense of themselves. When they try to meditate they often report becoming overwhelmed by residues of trauma-related perceptions, sensations, and emotions. Trauma victims tend to have a negative body image— as far as they are concerned, the less attentionthey pay to their bodies, and thereby, their internal sensations, the better.Yet, one cannot learn to take care of oneself without being in touch with the demands and requirements of one’s physical self. In the field of trauma treatment a consensus is emerging that, in order to keep old trauma from intruding into current experience, patients need to deal with the internal residues of the past. Neurobiologically speaking: they need to tolerate their orienting and focusing attention on their internal experience, while interweaving and conjoining cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor elements of their traumatic experience. They need to learn introspection and develop a deep curiosity about their internal experience. This will help them identify their physical sensations, translate their emotions and sensations into language, and learn that it is safe to have feelings and sensations.Bodily experience never remains static. Unlike at the moment of a trauma when everything seems to freeze in time, physical sensations and emotions are in a constant state of flux. The client needs to learn to tell the difference between a sensation and an emotion (How do you know you are angry/afraid? Where do you feel that in your body? Do you notice any impulses in your body to move in some way right now?). Once they realize that their internal sensations continuously shift and change, particularly if they learn to develop a certain degree of control over their physiological states by breathing, and movement, they will viscerally discover that remembering the past does notinevitably result in overwhelming emotions.Traumatized people often lose the effective use of fight or flight defences and respond to perceived threat with immobilization. Attention to inner experience can help them to reorient themselves to the present by learning to attend to non traumatic stimuli. This can open them up to attending to new, non traumatic experiences and learning from them, rather than reliving the past over and over again, without modification by subsequent information.For therapy to be effective it might be useful to focus on the client’s physical self-experience and increase their self awareness, rather than focusing exclusively on the meaning that people make of their experience—their narrative of the past. If traumatic experience is embodied in current physiological states and action tendencies therapy may be most effective if it facilitates self-awareness and self-regulation.Mindfulness as a therapeutic toolThe core contention is that people can develop something in the mind that I call an “internal observer”, or, sometimes, “the witness”.The issue of the “internal observer” is particularly important to TraumaSomatics®€, because our approach to transformation is based on three different models, one of which we call “dis-identification”. We presume that a great part of a person’s suffering originates through the identity he or she attaches to certain states of consciousness into which they enter. They become absorbed into a state which is experienced as real and true, while, in fact, it is actually a regression to an earlier, learned, and now outdated state of memory. By “dis-identifying” with this regressive state, the client can be free both to organize around present experience as well as to developnew, more self-affirming identifications.To facilitate this transformation, the process of becoming conscious becomes enormously important. As Moshe Feldenkrais put it, “You can only do what you want when you know what you are doing!” By this I believe he means that as long as behaviours operate unconsciously, we are at their mercy. Only through awareness we can notice the following: if we are satisfied with the behaviour; what we are actually doing internally that sustains the action; and what new opportunities for choice and freedom can be created?Changes and personal transformation are shaped not only by insights which happen relatively quickly, but by the repetition of experiences. Many important changes, in fact, can only be brought about by repeated experiences and exercise. Specific skills of the brain, like mindfulness, can possibly be supported by actually training them, just like you can train your musculature. To foster the development of the internal observer, and dis-identification, we employ a supporting element of repetitive training, by which important changes regarding self reflection and somatic structure can be developed. In TraumaSomatics®€ we do this by working with the procedural memory: by repeatedlyencouraging the client’s continual observation of (and thereby disidentification from) their regressive memories and resulting internal events. Repeated observation of more functional states is also encouraged, along with new identification with these states. Over the course of therapy, mindfulness becomes longer and deeper. Occasionally, training mindfulness at home is recommended.I ask my clients to focus attention during the whole of a session on their physical sensations – usuallyan unpleasant one. This kind of mindfulness can result in changes such as:  a) Strengthening of the neuronal links between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.  b) Increased potential for self organisation and self regulation.  c) Development of an internal observer who is not identified with the activated substructures.  e) Enhanced potential to activate episodic memory content, and bring it into consciousness.TraumaSomatics®€ clients learn to mindfully observe the body. This process develops the inner observer, and opens pathways to the memory systems. Moreover, within the framework of mindful processing it is appropriate to enter and explore traumatic memories because the internal observer is supporting the emergence of a non-identified self during the course of the work. Experiencing regression in a dis-identified mindful state makes this process completely safe, and discharges the concern about the so called “kindling”- effect, a grinding-in process of neuronal pathways by which dysfunctional states are constantly reconfirmed and deepened, instead of being changed. Thisphenomenon has been widely discussed in the context of trauma. From the point of view of TraumaSomatics®€, a healthy Self has good relationships to all its component parts. It knows these substructures well, and can work with them. At the same time, it is not excessively identified with them, or can step out of identification with them fairly easily.A Phase Model for the Treatment of Traumatic MemoriesThis is a general ‘how to’ list we follow when working with clients:1. Taking a case historyWhen taking a case history, the client is asked about all their physical illnesses, accidents, or impairments (deafness, needing glasses, high blood pressure etc.). When noting them, they are asked if any emotional upheaval occurred shortly before or around these incidents. By doing that we observe the non-verbal reactions, or you could say, the clients stress-continuum. For example, if the client is sharing a memory about his car accident. We as the therapist don't just hear to the story of the car accident, we also sense how much stress is in that memory or what kind of traumasymptoms occure.In general, we distinguish between stress and trauma response. A stress response results when one perceives a threat to which a successful adaptation is presently available. A trauma response results when a threat is perceived and no successful adaptation is perceived to be presently available. If the client don’t remember or cannot remember at all their memories it could mean, that a certain memory has no energy or meaning, or it could mean that there is a lot of trauma symptoms stored in that memory.2. Using non-violence in order to create self organisationWhen a client is describing their problem or symptom, they are asked to describe what they are experiencing in their body with a mindful attitude, that means without judgement. In this way we support principles of self organisation and non-violence, well known in the Hakomi Therapy4. Since as a therapist, we often do things without knowing that they will cause harm, we must think of violence as the persistence of actions which we know are causing harm. In terms of the method, we must make every effort to avoid controlling the client. Of course what we do and say is bound to influence the client's process. We can't help that. But we can avoid overriding the client's needs with our own agendas. This is a very common problem Structural Integration Practitioner have. They do not always know when to wait and let the client unfold his or her own process. They are too full of the desire to help, to do a good job, to make something happen. Non-violence is an honouring of life's innate intelligence and self organisation. It means being ready and willing to abandon a momentary agenda if it goes against the grain of the client's process. Technically, it requires that the therapist learn how to sense which way the client wants to go and what the client's unconscious needs might be. We support the client's management (defence) system by seeing what is underneath, what is being protected, and helping to protect.3. Bodyreading is the first step to process clients power and to come out of the victim role.When the client is standing infront of us, we are not  telling them what we see in their structure.  We are not talking into the structure but we let the structure talk to us. Of course we are watching very carefully every signs for an unbalanced body. But we want to know what the client allready knows and what he sense in his body. We get an initial read on how aware they are of their victimization and that quality of awareness gives us an indication of how much power is at the client’s disposal. If our clients are in stress patterns and when we ask them to focus on internal sensations they tend to feel overwhelmed, or deny having an inner sense of themselves. In this case they just feel in categories of “something is painful or not”. In order to get someone mindful you have to teach them how to be mindful. To teach mindfulness, the therapist asks questions that require mindfulness to answer, such as, “What do you feel in your body? Where exactly do you experience tension? What sensation do you feel in your legs right now? What happens in the rest of your body when your hand makes a fist?”. Questions such as these force the client to come out of a dissociated state and experience the present moment through the body. Such questions also encourage the client to step back from being embedded in the traumatic experience and to report from the standpoint of an internal observer, an observer that can discriminate between “having” an experience in the body rather than “being” that bodily experience. If someone has a lot of awareness at this stage I could use his ability to deepen mindfulness without getting to much excitement in his nervous system.4. Working with deep memoriesWhen a client is recalling a deep memory, she is encouraged to report it as if she is  in the story within an actual body, not from some disembodied vantage point. Mindfulness is here extreme value in order to learn how to stay with own inner sensations. For example, a traumatized client's effective information processing may be “driven” by an underlying dysregulated arousal, causing emotions to escalate and thoughts to revolve around and around in cycles. When the client learns to self-regulate her arousal through sensing their own nervous system, she may be able to more accurately distinguish between cognitive and effective reactions that are merely symptomatic of such dysregulated arousal and those cognitive-emotional contents that are genuine issues that need to be worked through. We invite the client to stay focused with their present somatic sensations, but we also track the actual state of the nervous system.It is the therapist’s task to control the process in a way that it stays in a so-called “window of tolerance” so that the client isn’t retraumatized. We do this by a technique called “temporary containment” which is based on a system that separates somatic sensations, symptoms and movements into stress and trauma reactions: We allow mild or high stress reactions to happen, but we prevent the client’s system from mild and severe trauma reactions, like frozen or numbness sensations. By separating body sensations into stress or trauma reactions we focus our awareness rather on stress than on trauma symptoms. This allows a slow spontaneous unfolding of somatic sensations, emotions andthoughts. Poor tolerance for arousal is characteristic of traumatized individuals  When arousal remains within this window, a person can contain and experience (not dissociate from) the affects, sensations, sense perceptions and thoughts that occur within this zone, and can process information effectively. In this zone, modulation can occur spontaneously and naturally. During trauma, arousal initially tends to rise beyond the upper limits of the optimal zone, which alerts the person to possible threat. In successful and vigorous fight or flight, this hyper-arousal is utilized through physical activity  in serving the purpose of defending and restoring balance to the organism. In the ideal resolution of the arousal, the level returns to the parameters of the optimum zone. However, this return to baseline does not always occur, which contributes significantly to the problems with hyper-arousal that are characteristic of the traumatized person.Hyperarousal involves excessive sympathetic branch activity and can lead to increased energy-consuming processes, manifested as increases in heart rate and respiration. Over the long term, such hyperarousal may disrupt cognitive and affective processing as the individual becomes overwhelmed and disorganized by the accelerated pace and amplitude of thoughts and emotions, which may be accompanied by intrusive memories. Such state-dependent memories may increase clients tendency to interpret current stimuli as reminders of the trauma, perpetuating the pattern of hyperarousal. At the opposite end of the Modulation Model, excessive parasympathetic branch activity leads to increased energy conserving processes, manifested as decreases in heart rate and respiration and as a sense of “numbness” and “shutting down” within the body. Such hypo-arousal can manifest as numbing, a dulling of inner body sensation, slowing of muscular/skeletal response and diminished muscular tone, especially in the face (Porges6). Here cognitive and emotional processing are also disrupted, not by hyper-arousal as above, but by hypo-arousal.Both hyper-arousal and hypo-arousal often lead to dissociation. In hyper-arousal, dissociation may occur because the intensity and accelerated pace of sensations and emotions overwhelm cognitive processing so that the person cannot stay present with current experience. In hypo-arousal, dissociation may manifest as reduced capacity to sense or feel even significant events, an inability to accurately evaluate dangerous situations or think clearly, and a lack of motivation. The body, or a part of the body, may become numb, and the victim may experience a sense of “leaving” the body. These symptoms are reminiscent of passive defences, in which a person does not actively defend against danger. In passive defence, the ordinarily active orienting response, which includes effective use of the senses, scanning mechanisms and evaluation capacities, may become dull and ineffective. Muscles may be extremely tense but immobilized, or flaccid. Clients may report that in this state, they find moving difficult, and they may even feel paralysed. Frequently, the complete execution of effective physical defensive movements do not take place during the trauma itself. A victim may instantaneously freeze rather than act, a driver may not have time to execute the impulse to turn the car to avoid impact, or a person may be overpowered when attempting to fight off an assailant. Over time, such interrupted or ineffective physical defensive movement sequences contribute to trauma symptoms. When our clients only can stay in this kind of disembodied, we support this state of  Non-Realization and honour it as a persons creative ability to deal with the threat.  By doing that we monitor the intensity of the nervous system so that the client can stay in unpleasant feelings, like numbness or difficulty concentrating. As the therapist we must learn to observe in precise detail the moment-by-moment organization of experience in the client, focusing on both subtle changes such as skin colour change, dilation of the nostrils or pupils, slight tension or trembling and more obvious changes, like collapse through the spine, turn in the neck, a push with an arm, or any other gross muscularmovement. These bodily experiences usually remain unnoticed by the client until the therapist points them out through a simple “contact” statement such as, “Seems like your arm is tensing”, or “Your hand is changing into a fist”, or “There's a slight trembling in your left leg”.ConclusionMindfulness is the key to clients becoming more and more acutely aware of internal reactions and in increasing their ability for self-regulation. Mindfulness is a state of consciousness in which one's awareness is directed toward here-and-now internal experience, with the intention of simply observing rather than changing this experience.The link between mindfulness and trauma resolution is a new exploration that science is only now beginning to research. Those of us in the Structural Integration profession are uniquely situated to investigate approaches to mindfulness with our clients and also bringing your Self into relationship. My approach to teaching the art of the inner observer to my clients with trauma in their systems has lead me to believe that mindfulness is the cutting edge in this kind of work. These observations are still in the exploratory stages and are presented as a stimulus to discussion. If you would like to discuss your explorations please email me at: office@structurellekoerpertherapie.de. You are also invited to join my TraumaSomatics®€ Seminars for SI practitioners.References1. Herbert Grassmann and Christina Pohlenz-Michel, 2007, Access to the Present Moment: TraumaSomatics®€.The Reorganization of the Somatic Memory System. IASI Yearbook2. Peter Melchior. Class notes from GSI advanced training 19943. Janet, P. (1919/25). Les m‚dictations psychologiques. Paris: F‚lix Alcan. English edition Psychological healing (2 vols ) New York Macmillan, 1925. Reprint Arno Press, New York, 1976.4. Van der Kolk, B.A. (1988). The biological response to psychic trauma. In F.M. Ochberg (Ed.), Post-traumatic therapy and victims of violence (pp. 25-38). New York: Brunner/Mazel.5. Ron Kurtz, Body-Centred Psychotherapy - The Hakomi Method.LifeRhythm,1990.6. Porges, S., J.A. Doussard-Roosevelt, A.L. Portales, et al. (1996) Infant regulation of the vagal brake predicts child behaviour problems: a psychobiological model of social behaviour. Dev. Psychobiol. 29: 697–712.

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Access to the Present Moment: TraumaSomatics®, The Reorganization of the Somatic Memory System

IASI Yearbook 2007. Herbert Grassmann and Christina Pohlenz-Michel.Dr. Herbert Grassmann is one of the co-founders of SKT® Strukturelle Körpertherapie, and TraumaSomatics®. He is an Advanced practitioner from the Guild for Structural Integration, Certified Hakomi Therapist, and later trained with Dr. Peter Levine. He combined principles from these three methods and subsequent experience to create and teach the traumatherapeutic method TraumaSomatics®. His website is: www.traumasomatics.de.Dr. rer. nat. Christina Pohlenz-Michel works in Freising, Germany, with Bodyoriented Psychotherapy, Tattva Therapy and TraumaSomatics®. She has been a toxicology consultant for national and international organizations since 1988,incorporating knowledge from medicine, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics. Her website is: www.seele-und-koerper-imdialog.de.“A trauma has less to do with conscious memory but with the inability to calm down the somatic reactions.”- Bessel van der KolkThe essence of TraumaSomatics® Knowledge originating from neuropsychology, psychotherapeutic and somatic therapeutic methods, as well as from medicine and biosciences, combined with modern models of trauma therapy make it evident that the somatic level plays an essential role for development, fixation, and resolution of trauma. 3, 7 -9.TraumaSomatics® is a therapeutic method that is based on the reorganization of somatic memory located in what we call the SomaNet. An essential characteristic of this therapeutic method is that we work with somatic sensationsand movements to resolve somatic traces of the traumatic experience. Both the calming down of the nervous system and changes in the structural and molecular net contribute to these processes.TraumaSomatics® works with the human memory system which can be differentiated into semantic, episodic and procedural memory (see also readings from Allan Schore1, John Grigsby and David Steve ns2, Bessel van der Kolk3, and Eric Wolterstorff4). The therapeutic objective is the separation of these memory systems in order to work with them individually. The work with episodic memory via the somatic memory system integrates the traumatic experience.Procedural memory gives access to trauma - dependent patterns of behaviour, and the learning of abilities represents an important resource. Semantic memory supports the client in his autonomy and in managing the sequels of stress and trauma.All these therapeutic tools support the development of the ability to recognize that the traumatic experience is in the past giving the clients access to the present moment.Starting points for a somatic trauma conceptTraumatic experiences are generally accompanied by enormous stress and complex patterns of sensory input that are threatening and painful in an extreme way. The traumaticsituation mostly appears like an unexpected attack leading to a state of shock. A trauma is connected with the experience that there is no opportunity to solve the situation and there is a deep sensation of being overwhelmed. The situation gets out of conscious control because the processing and storage of incoming traumatic information becomes uncoupled from higher brain functions. The reactions of the threatened human, which are orientation, fight, flight or freeze, are now driven exclusively by the autonomic nervous system. According to Janet (see Ogden 5) this condition can be regarded as a constriction of the conscious field obstructing Somatic therapy methods like Structural Integration, Craniosacral Therapy and Osteopathy have recognized that work at the tissue level is essential for the development, fixation and resolution of trauma.12-14 Even a purely psychic trauma leaves traces in tissues and cells in the same way a physical injury does.Psychotherapy, up to now, had no mechanistic models to understand how trauma and soma are bound in a somatic memory system. We have created the SomaNet model to describe the somatic side of trauma.The SomaNetThe model of the SomaNetFigure 1: The principle of the SomaNet The subunits of the SomaNet propagate and store information both on their own but also in close cooperation thus forming a soma - wide information network.Stress and trauma call for managing an excess of information, both from the outside to the inside of an organism and between the 50 billion cells, and different organs and tissues of the human body. The SomaNet model describes the highly linked and cooperating somatic network of information and communication which is characterized by self-organization and the capability for dynamic change. Our model combines experience from somatically orientedpsychotherapy, trauma therapy and somatic therapies with recent research in medicine, neurobiology, cellular and molecular biology, biomechanics, physiology, biochemistry and biophysics. 15- 21 This model uses our understanding of the processes of communication and information exchange in the context of stress and traumatic experience, to find solutions to the sequels of trauma and the reorganization of somatic memory.In the SomaNet model we categorize somatic intelligence in individual subunits designated as: the structural net, the molecular net, and the nervous system (Figure 1 and Table 1). The state of the components of the SomaNetis intimately connected with our well-being since traces of stress and trauma can be the cause of cell and tissue imbalances, leading to symptoms and the diagnosis of “dis-ease”.Continued on page three of attached. The Reorganization of the Somatic Memory System.pdf

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The Scene of the Crime: Traumatic Transference and Repetition as Seen Through Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie

Published in International Body Psychotherapy Journal The Art and Science of Somatic Praxis. (formerly US Association for Body Psychotherapy Journal)Received on 22/07/2013. Revised 120/1/2014AbstractThis essay presents an integrated approach to treating traumatic transference dynamics. Our theory integrates findings from the family therapy literature, principally the contributions of Murray Bowen; new understandings about memory from the field of neuropsychology, most clearly expressed in the writings of James Grigsby; and insights into the behaviour of the autonomic nervous systems of people after they have been stressed or traumatized, as modeled by Peter Levine. Our work integrates these three literatures into an approach to addressing the complex interpersonal dynamics that arise when psychotherapists work with clients who have experienced a particular class of traumas which we call “in-group traumas”, which is to say, those clients who have a history of involvement in traumatic incidents in their families, schools, churches or other tightly knit groups. Because of the close and ongoing nature of relationships in these groups, memories of traumatic experiences in such environments can be more complex than memories of car accidents, surgeries, or even an attack by a stranger. We propose a way to conceptualize these memories of “in-group” traumas. To do so, we rely on five ideas: 1) It is useful to simplify people’s behavior during a traumatic event into four roles: Savior, Victim, Bystander, Perpetrator. A single individual might play more than one role, even during the same event. 2) Individuals playing any of these four roles can develop posttraumatic symptoms. 3) Traumatic reenactment can be accounted for through the mechanism of projective identification. 4) During a traumatic event, we remember not so much what happened to us alone, but rather our subjective interpretation of the entire traumatic event itself; we remember the scene of the crime. 5) Healing from a complex relational trauma requires integrating all four posttraumatic roles and, through them, the whole of the traumatic event. Identifying with one of the roles and disidentifying with the others, as is usual, leaves clients with a superficial misinterpretation of what they actually remembered because, during the original traumatic event, they also remembered what they imagined at that moment to have been the experience of others present. To conclude, we describe the implications of this interpretation for clinical interventions. Throughout, we use a (fictional) case study accessible to any reader, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1961 psychological thriller, Marnie.Click here to continue reading article..Wolterstorff & Grassmann - Scene of the Crime IBPJ 13_2 2014.pdf

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