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Learning from Experience by Marilyn Charles

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5 Symptoms

Marking the Spot

AMBIVALENCE IS A powerful force. We are always caught between the desire to know and the desire to not know. Symptoms may be seen as a way of marking something important that we have not been able to more constructively manage or work through. The symptom provides us with a way of remembering without forcing an awareness that might be overwhelming. It marks the spot.

There are some experiences that are difficult for us to know about in words, perhaps because the event occurred quite early, before the advent of verbal symbolic language, or because the event was too traumatic to be able to encode in this form. Overwhelming affect makes it difficult to organize our experience, so that traumatic memories tend to be encoded ...

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