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CONCRETE EXPRESSIONS OF AN "UNFORMULATED" DISCONTINUITY: GLIMPSES INTO THE DISSOCIATIVE WORLD OF THE IMMIGRANT

2012-12-01
Oguz, Timur F.
Immigrant psychology and mental health have become of interest to academics, mental health professionals, and governments, which is not surprising because issues of immigration have important social, political, economic, and psychological dimensions. Boulanger (2004) notes that although psychoanalysis was created and dominated for a long time by immigrants, the number of psychoanalytic authors addressing immigration remains small, and the contributions themselves are relatively recent. I contend that unformulated (Stern, 1997) dissociative experiences of temporo-spatial discontinuity (Akhtar, 1999) lie at the heart of the immigrant's experience. Sometimes these experiences find expression in dreams, or are revealed in unexpected feelings and thoughts triggered by an event that concretely represents discontinuity. In this article, I offer case illustrations from my clinical work to describe and analyze various expressions of this unformulated, dissociative experience. I also identify some variations, which I label as the awareness surge, the perplexing clarity, and the two-point existence.